National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Ailsa Mellon Bruce Philip Alexius de Laszlo (artist)
British, 1869 - 1937
Ailsa Mellon Bruce, 1926
oil on canvas
overall: 122.2 x 96.6 cm (48 1/8 x 38 1/16 in.) framed: 142.2 x 116.2 cm (56 x 45 3/4 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection
1970.20.1
On View
From the Tour: Founding Benefactors of the National Gallery of Art
Object 8 of 9

Ailsa Mellon Bruce (1901-1969), daughter of Andrew Mellon, acted as her father's hostess in Washington and when he was ambassador to Great Britain. In 1926 she married David K. E. Bruce, who became a distinguished diplomat and also served as the National Gallery's president from 1939 to 1945. Mrs. Mellon Bruce established the Avalon Foundation in 1940, which, among other things, funded the Gallery's Andrew W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts. In 1946 she designated funds for the Gallery's purchase of American art and later made possible the acquisition of many Old Masters, such as Ginevra de' Benci, the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci that is outside Europe. Along with her brother Paul, she contributed the large initial gift to finance the new East Building, but she did not live to see its groundbreaking. Mrs. Mellon Bruce's bequest to the Gallery included an endowment fund and her own exquisite collection of small paintings by the French impressionists.

The Hungarian-born painter Philip Alexius László de Lombos gained international acclaim for just such fashionable images as Ailsa Mellon Bruce's elegant portrait, done in the year of her wedding.

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