Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Mellon, Paul

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role Collector
dates 1907-1999
city Upperville
other citiesPittsburgh, PA; Cambridge, United Kingdom; New Haven, CT;
sex M
historical notes Collector, philanthropist, founding benefactor, and trustee of the National Gallery of Art.

Mellon's art collection included work by George Bellows, William James Bennett, Pierre Bonnard, Eugène Boudin, Georges Braque, Brueghel, Calder, Canaletto, Mary Cassatt, George Catlin, Cézanne, William Merritt Chase, Corot, Degas, Delacroix, Derain, Dufy, Eakins, Homer, Gauguin, Gris, Hassam, Hogarth, and Ingres.

"Paul Mellon was born in Pittsburgh, the son of businessman, art collector and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon [1855-1937] and his wife, Nora McMullen Mellon [d. 1973]. After his parents divorced in 1912, Paul spent much of his youth in his mother's native England, though he attended elementary and preparatory schools in the U.S. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale in 1929, and Bachelors and Master of Arts and a doctorate of laws from Cambridge University, England, in 1931, 1938, and 1983, respectively. Paul Mellon also collected honorary doctorates of letters from Yale, Oxford, and the Carnegie Institute, and is a fellow of Berkeley College-Yale, Clare College-Cambridge, St. John's College-Annapolis, and of the Royal Society of Arts, London. On 2 February 1935, he married Mary Conover [d. 1946]. They had two children, Catherine Conover and Timothy. He was married a second time, on 1 May 1948, to Rachel [Bunny] Lambert Lloyd. Paul Mellon's father is remembered for the gift of his renowned art collection, which formed the nucleus of the National Gallery of Art. Andrew Mellon died in 1937, leaving Paul to oversee the completion of the museum building and serve as President of the Gallery when it opened in 1941. He remained in this post until 1979. From 1979, Mellon served as Chairman of the Gallery's Board of Trustees, retiring in 1985 to the role of honorary trustee. He was also a trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York. Mellon has given numerous works of art from his personal collection to the NGA, as well as a many works dealing with equestrian subjects to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. He also founded the Yale Center for British Art and donated a significant number of British sporting art to that institution. Aside from his activities as a collector and executive of arts organizations, Mellon served in the U.S. Army from 1941-43, working overseas from 1943-45 with the Office of Strategic Services. He was the recipient of numerous awards, medals, and decorations, including an award for distinguished service to the arts from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1962), and a decoration of honorary knight commander of the Order of the British Empire (1974). In 1992 Mellon published his autobiography, Reflections in a Silver Spoon. Paul Mellon died at his home in Upperville on 1 February 1999"

(retrieved from, 4/14/2008)
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Archives/Repository Collection Title Collection Details
National Gallery of Art, Gallery Archives
2000B South Club Drive
David E. (David Edward) Finley Papers, 1915-1977.
see details...
National Gallery of Art, Library
2000B South Club Drive
Paul Mellon Papers see details...
University of Texas, Austin
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Nancy Wilson Ross Papers, 1913-1986 see details...
Archives of American Art
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Marian King papers, 1934-1964. see details...
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
Senator John Heinz History Center
James Waldo Fawcett Papers 1847-1968 bulk 1963-1968. see details...
Archives of American Art
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Samuel Wagstaff papers, 1962-1984. see details...
University of California, Santa Cruz
Special Collections, University Library
Europe, a prophecy, papers, 1964-1973. see details...

see also:
Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1855-1937
Bruce, Ailsa Mellon, 1901-1969
Mellon, Paul, Mrs.