UES050-01.jpg (82383 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Upper East Side

Paul Mellon House




125 East  70, Bet. Park And Lexington Aves.















Paul Mellon-
philanthropist, art collector and horse breeder. He established such treasures as the Yale Center for British Art and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. For decades, he helped run Washington's National Gallery of Art, which he founded in partnership with his father, Andrew Mellon. His horses won three Triple Crown races including one Kentucky Derby (Sea Hero in 1992) and two Belmont Stakes (Quadrangle in 1964, Arts and Letters in 1969).
Died: Upperville, Va., February 1, 1999

Multi-billionaire philanthropist, art connoisseur and administrator of a 3rd generation American empire Paul Mellon died February 1st 1999. Mellon, the son and heir of American industrialist Andrew Mellon and co-founder of the National Gallery of Art as well as numerous museums and schools, was 91 years old.

Paul Mellon was born on June 11th, 1907 in Pittsburgh, PA into a family that in America might be equated with royalty. The son of Andrew W. Mellon and English-born "child bride" Nora McMullen Mellon, Paul was born to the powerful business magnate late in his life- nearly 50, after a sister, Ailsa (1901). Andrew Mellon was a driven businessman, who parlayed the banking house he inherited from his father in the late 1800s into a huge business empire, founding the Union Trust Company, Gulf Oil, Pittsburgh Coal, and the Aluminum Company of America. It was a Mellon company that built the Panama Canal Locks, and it was Andrew Mellon, who served as U.S. Secretary of the treasury through 3 presidential administrations (1921-1932) who oversaw the repayment of Europe's World War I debts to the federal government. The elder Mellon divorced his wife Nora when Paul was 5 years old, and as a child he spent much time with his mother in her native England.

With his life divided between his parents, Paul Mellon received a largely American education, Andrew Mellon enrolling his son and heir to his financial and industrial empire in Connecticut's Choate Hall preparatory school. Paul Mellon received a Bachelor of Arts degree (1929) from Yale University before he moved on to Cambridge University in England, where he received a Bachelors and Masters of Arts (and later an honorary doctorate) in Law by 1938. Married at 28 to Mary Conover, by the age of 30 Paul Mellon found himself the heir and administrator of the Mellon family fortune and business empire when Andrew Mellon died in 1937. Groomed nearly from infancy to succeed his father in his business and philanthropic ventures, Paul Mellon had from his youth been shouldering many of the responsibilities of a business partner, and been instilled with a sense of quiet modesty, dignity, and charity. Mellon was keenly aware of the number of people affected by his business decisions and endowments, remarking to a Washington Post columnist that it "was possible to do as much harm as good, giving money away" and that philanthropy was often a complicated and heart-testing business.

Paul Mellon's first duty in his long career of philanthropic works was to oversee the completion of the National Gallery of Art museum, which he had co-founded with his father. The NGA was created around a nucleus of the immense collection of works donated by Andrew Mellon, and was over the years augmented by donations from Paul, who acted as its president for decades. The NGA was dedicated in 1941, as Paul Mellon had temporarily shelved his philanthropic and business duties to serve his country in World War II. Mellon served in the US Army as a cavalry officer at Fort Riley, Kansas from 1941-1943 and from 1943-4945 served as a member of the Strategic Services, stationed primarily throughout his tour of duty in London. The young head of the Mellon legacy enjoyed only a very briefly happy homecoming, his young wife, Mary Conover Mellon, passing away in 1946 from respiratory illness and leaving behind her husband and 2 children, Catherine and Timothy. A frail woman, Mary Mellon had suffered throughout her life from asthma and nervous conditions, which had caused her devoted husband to consult celebrated analyst Carl G. Jung.

Mellon remarried in 1948, his union with Rachel Lambert Lloyd, who he affectionately referred to as "Bunny," lasting until his death. Bunny Mellon was an integral part of her husband's efforts as a collector and staunch supporter of his charitable works. Mellon divided his time between the rigorous schedule of supervising the many Mellon trusts charities and endowment programs, the family businesses, and his family, as well as his passion for horses. Mellon was a highly respected and successful breeder of thoroughbreds, his horses taking 3 Triple Crown races during his lifetime: the 1993 Kentucky Derby and 2 Belmont Stakes, in 1964 and 1969. Mellon was additionally a personal collector of art and particularly equestrian subjects, many of which he donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at Richmond and the U.S. Cavalry Museum.

In addition to the National Gallery of Art , Mellon established the Yale Center for British Art , and was the anonymous creator of many university and ethnic museums and collections, including the African Museum of Art. The quiet billionaire, whose motto was rumored to have been "To those to whom much is given, much is required in return" established the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and funded and anonymously gifted innumerable arts and education programs. A private and refined yet unassuming man, Mellon was known for his grace, reserve and dignity and courtly manners, whether he was meeting with writers of Forbes magazine or fellow hippophiles. More eager to discuss his horses or art than himself, Mellon finally published his autobiography, "Reflections in a Silver Spoon " in 1992.

Paul Mellon's generous works were honored with the rank of Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, an award for distinguished service to the arts from the National Institute of Arts and Letters among others and a number of honorary degrees from universities. Mellon held honorary doctorates from his alumnus, Yale, as well as Clare College-Cambridge, Oxford, The Carnegie Institute, and held position as honorary fellow of Berkley-Yale, St. John's College-Annapolis, and London's Royal Society of Arts.

Paul Mellon had been suffering from an undisclosed cancer for several years before his death, which came on February 1st, 1999 at Oak Spring, his Upperville, Virginia, Home. Paul Mellon, who had devoted his life to charity and giving generously of himself and his fortune to others, in death left bequeathments, grants, and memorial gifts which will continue his good works for years to come. Paul Mellon was preceded in death by his sister Ailsa Mellon Bruce in 1969. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, "Bunny" Rachel Lambert Lloyd Mellon, daughter Catherine, son Timothy, 2 granddaughters and a grandson.