Mellon, Paul

Mellon, Paul,

1907–99, American philanthropist and art collector, b. Pittsburgh. The son of Andrew W. MellonMellon, Andrew William,
1855–1937, American financier, industrialist, and public official, b. Pittsburgh. He studied at the Western Univ. of Pennsylvania (now the Univ. of Pittsburgh), but he left college to organize a lumber business with his brother, Richard B. Mellon.
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, he attended Yale (B.A., 1929) and Clare College, Cambridge (A.B., 1931). He worked briefly at Mellon Bank but left (1936) business to devote himself to American cultural interests. Over six decades he donated roughly $1 billion to national institutions and projects. He oversaw the construction of the National Gallery of ArtNational Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C., an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, established by an act of Congress, 1937. Andrew W. Mellon donated funds for construction of the building as well as his own collection of 130 American portraits.
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, conceived by his late father as a gift to the American people, and in 1941 presented it to the nation together with his father's art collection. Serving on its board for more than 40 years, he was its president (1938–39, 1963–79) and chairman (1979–85). Mellon commissioned I. M. PeiPei, I. M.
(Ieoh Ming Pei) , 1917–2019, Chinese-American architect, b. Guangzhou, China. Pei immigrated to the United States in 1935 and studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard, where he taught from 1945 to 1948.
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 to design its East Building (1978) and over the years gave the museum more than 900 works. He also created the Yale Center for Studies in British Art (1972) and its sister museum (1977) and chose Louis KahnKahn, Louis Isadore
, 1901–74, American architect, b. Estonia. He and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1905, and he later studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. From the 1920s through World War II, Kahn worked on numerous housing projects including Carver Court (1944),
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 as its architect. Mellon, who established the Old Dominion (1941) and Bollingen (1942) foundations, also supported various universities, libraries, environmental causes, and arts, education, and public health organizations.


See his Reflections in a Silver Spoon: A Memoir (1992).

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Mellon, Paul

(1907–  ) art collector, philanthropist; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. (son of Andrew Mellon). A graduate of Yale University (1929), he also studied English literature at Cambridge University, starting his art collection there. Presiding over his father's Washington art collection (1937–39), he served in the cavalry during World War II. As chairman of two foundations, set up to dispense the family fortune, he made generous gifts to several universities, also serving as president of the National Gallery of Art (1963–79). He gave Yale his $35 million collection of British and French art in 1966, with additional funding to build and maintain an art study complex (1966). He was also a noted horseman; horses from his stables have won many of the world's major races.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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