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Description: Paul Mellon’s Legacy: A Passion for British Art
Paul Mellon’s Legacy: A Passion for British Art celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Yale Center for British Art and commemorates the centennial of the birth of its founder, Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929). Together, the related exhibitions presented at the Yale Center and at the Royal Academy of Arts demonstrate Mr. Mellon’s unparalleled collecting activity in...
PublisherYale Center for British Art
Foreword
Amy Meyers
Director, Yale Center for British Art
Paul Mellon’s Legacy: A Passion for British Art celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Yale Center for British Art and commemorates the centennial of the birth of its founder, Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929). Together, the related exhibitions presented at the Yale Center and at the Royal Academy of Arts demonstrate Mr. Mellon’s unparalleled collecting activity in the field of British art. They also highlight his remarkable vision in creating an institution in North America that serves both as a public museum for British art and as a research institute at Yale, one of the world’s great universities.
The Paul Mellon Collection is among the most comprehensive representations of the visual arts of a single culture ever assembled. As the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, it includes approximately two thousand paintings, fifty thousand prints and drawings, thirty-five thousand rare books and manuscripts, and several hundred pieces of sculpture. Mr. Mellon also provided funds for a landmark building, designed by Louis I. Kahn, to house the collection, and an endowment to support the institution and ensure that public admission will always be free.
At the Yale Center, Paul Mellon’s Legacy marks the first time since the institution opened in 1977 that the entire building has been devoted to the display of Mr. Mellon’s collection. At the Royal Academy, the exhibition will include a major selection of works from the Center’s display, representing both the most important of Mr. Mellon’s gifts to the Center and his personal favorites. This catalogue records this very special selection.
Paul Mellon’s Legacy has been sensitively curated by Brian Allen, Director of Studies, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London; John Baskett, former art advisor to and friend of Paul Mellon; and Mary Anne Stevens, Acting Secretary and Senior Curator at the Royal Academy; in consultation with Norman Rosenthal, Exhibitions Secretary of the Royal Academy. Special thanks are due to them, as well as to the Yale Center’s curatorial staff, for their splendid efforts. The curators collaborated with the exceptional team of essayists including Duncan Robinson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge; Jules Prown, Paul Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, Yale University; and William Reese, former book advisor to Paul Mellon. They also worked closely with scholars at the Yale Center who have written the individual catalogue entries. Each staff member of the Yale Center has worked on this project in some meaningful way, and I am immensely grateful to all for their contributions.
The Yale Center is indebted to the Mellon Financial Corporation for its generous gift toward the publication of this catalogue, and we deeply appreciate the magnanimous support for the exhibition in New Haven given by Mr. and Mrs. Bart T. Tiernan, Yale LL.B. 1968. Gratitude is also extended to Christie’s for hosting many of the opening festivities on both sides of the Atlantic. We wish to convey additional thanks to Mr. Mellon’s Executors, Beverly Carter and Frederick A. Terry, Jr., Esq., for the warm enthusiasm they have expressed for the project from its genesis.
The Royal Academy of Arts is an ideal partner for this exhibition since a large number of artists represented in the Paul Mellon Collection were Royal Academicians, and, indeed, Mr. Mellon himself was an Honorary Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy. It is fitting, then, that we celebrate his relationships with both the Center and the Royal Academy as sister institutions. We are delighted that so many treasures from the Center can return to England as our centennial tribute to Paul Mellon, a man whose passion for British art created an unmatched legacy.