The Armand Hammer collection of paintings and drawings spanning four centuries from Durer to Degas will be shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art next fall.
Among the 113 works expected are three paintings by Rembrandt, two by Rubens and others by Gericault, Corot, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Rouault and Chagall. Corcoran director Peter Marzio yesterday called the exhibition "a Who's Who of Western art."
An earlier incarnation of Hammer's collection met with scathing reviews when it was shown here in 1970 at the Museum of Natural History. As a result, Hammer engaged National Gallery director emeritus John Walker to upgrade the collection and advise on future purchases.
Since then the collection has undergone a complete metamorphosis as it continued to travel around the country and the world, adding first-rate works by American painters Eakins, Harnett and Sargent and French masters Fragonard, Watteau, Ingres, Moreau, Renoir and Seurat "You won't see any paintings from the last show in this one, I assure you," said Marzio.
Hammer has promised that after his death his paintings will go to the Los Angeles County Museum and his drawings to the National Gallery. Hammer's recently acquired drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Durer were seen here in "Master Drawings and Promised Gifts," one of the shows inaugurating the East Building of the National Gallery. They will also be part of the Corcoran show.
Hammer, 81, is the billionaire head of Occidental Petroleum who has arranged exchanges of everything from fertilizers to Fragonards between the United States and the Soviet Union. He recently gave $1.5 million to the Corcoran so that paid admissions could be abolished and the auditorium refurbished. He became a member of the Corcoran's board of trustees late in 1978, and showed his Daumier collection there last fall.
Hammer's generosity with museums is legendary. During showing of his collection in Denver and Houston (where it closed on Jan. 20), he made impromptu $50,000 gifts to each museum. In Atlanta he presented a painting by Andrew Wyeth. "He customarily makes gifts of either art or money to museums where his collection is shown," said an aide at the Armand Hammer Foundation in Los Angeles, where he keeps no art. The exhibition, in its various forms, has made 42 stops since 1968.
Does the Corcoran expect a contribution? "He's been so generous already, I'm not expecting it," said Marzio.
The exhibition will be on view here from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 1980.