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Mellon, Paul

American, 1907 - 1999

Mellon, Paul; Mellon, Paul Estate of


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.


Richard, Paul. "Mellon Gives 93 Art Works." The Washington Post. 28 January 1983: D1, D8.
Kastor, Elisabeth. "The Glitter and Glow of Paul Mellon's Goodbye." The Washington Post. 4 May 1985: D1+
Richard, Paul. "Paul Mellon, Reveries & Riches." The Washington Post. 2 May 1985: B1+
Allis, Sam. "The Fine Art of Giving." Time 18 September 1989: 86-87
Mellon, Paul, and John Baskett. Reflections in a Silver Spoon: A Memoir. New York, 1992.
Barnes, Bart. "Philanthropist Paul Mellon Dies," The Washington Post, 2 February 1999:A1+

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