News broke this afternoon that Judge Robert Okun has allowed the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College of Art + Design’s cy prés petition to modify their governing trust to merge operations with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington university. I do not have a copy of the opinion yet, but Rebecca Cooper at the Washington Business Journal quotes the opinion as follows:
This court would find it even more painful to deny the relief requested and allow the Corcoran to face its likely demise — the likely dissolution of the college, the closing of the gallery and the dispersal of the gallery’s entire collection.
The issue before the court is not whether the Corcoran could have been managed more efficiently over the past decade, but whether it currently is impracticable for the Trustees to carry out the existing deed of trust. . . .
Undoubtedly, Mr. Corcoran would not be pleased by this turn of events. . . . It seems likely, however, that he would be pleased to see that the college will be preserved through its partnership with the very university to which he donated both property and his company’s archives … and that the gallery will be preserved through its partnership with one of the country’s pre-eminent art institutions.
Cooper reported that the interveners do not plan to appeal. More analysis when we have the full order.
UPDATE: the full order can be found here.