Since its formation in 1953, the Women's Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art has raised more than $200,000 for the museum and its art school. The committee also has given to the gallery, or bought for it, or pledged to it, more than 100 works of art. Forty-seven of these are now on view there in "The Women's Committee: 25 Years."
At first glimpse, this exhibition seems a mixed bag. On second glance, however, it outlines with precision the acquisition policies the museum has long followed.
Perhaps half the work displayed -- a 19th-century Whistler etching, a 1915 portrait by William Merritt Chase, a small Paul Manship sculpture, an Adolph Gottleib "Burst," and a fine Cubist bronze of a guitar player made by Jacques Lipchitz in 1918 -- contribute to the museum's survey of the history of American art.
Equally numerous are more recent works by local artists -- Sam Gilliam, Jane Dow, Kevin MacDonald, Bob Stackhouse, Rockne Krebs, Gene Davis, Mark Leithauser, William Christenberry, Peter de Anna and Rebecca Davenport among them.
Well-known out-of-towners -- Sol Le Witt, Helen Frankenthaler, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and John McLaughlin -- also are represented.
Though many of these pieces -- the LeWitt etching, the Oldenburg drawing, the Rauschenberg lithograph -- are prints or minor studies, others -- among them Davenport's self-portrait -- show the artists at their best.
Shows selected by committee often appear ragged. This one should be judged by how much it contributes to the more orderly collections of the Corcoran. It will remain on view, upstairs in two of the rear galleries, through April 22.