Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection


Padua will welcome the exhibition that celebrates Paul Mellon and his wife Rachel “Bunny” Lambert, two of the most prominent, sophisticated patrons of the 20thcentury

From October 26, 2019, to March 1, 2020, Fondazione Bano in Padua will host over 70 masterpieces by Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and more, on display in at Palazzo Zabarella exclusively for Italy to celebrate Paul and Rachel ‘Bunny’ Lambert Mellon, two of the most prominent, sophisticated patrons of the 20thcentury.

Curated by Colleen Yarger, author of the Mellon Collection catalog, the exhibition features a precious selection of works from the Mellon Collection of French Art at the Virginia Museum of Arts, spanning the years between the 1750s and the first decades of the 20thcentury and covering Romanticism, Cubism and the extraordinary Impressionist art.

The Mellon Collection

Paul Mellon donated to the National Gallery over one thousand works from his father’s and his own collections. He was born to entrepreneur Andrew Mellon, one of the wealthiest men in America: besides working as a banker and the United States Secretary of the Treasury, he was an eminent art collector himself and played a crucial role in the foundation of the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1937.

The Mellon Collection Monet Ninfee

Mellon’s studies at Yale and Cambridge drew him to the English art, yet it was only after his marriage to Bunny Lambert, an art enthusiast and a convinced Francophile, that the Mellons started to collect masterpieces of the French art.

Besides donations to the National Gallery in Washington, the couple gifted the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond with a significant number of French works. Mirroring the Mellon’s personal liking and exceptional taste for collections, these pieces of French art are the works exhibited at Palazzo Zabarella.

The Mellon Collection

Bunny Mellon was also passionate about interior decoration. Known for her unique fine taste, Bunny decorated her houses with austerity and exquisite elegance. There, she welcomed guests like Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales and her friend Jacqueline Kennedy, who appointed her as her decor advisor for her many residences. Palazzo Zabarella just could leave behind works depicting views of interiors by authors like Felix Vallotton, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and Raoul Dufy.

Among them, The Chinese Chest of Drawersstands out:a Cubist still lifemasterpiece by Pablo Picassothat embodies the avant-gardes’ will to overcome stylistic concepts and boundaries in search of new forms of expression.

The exhibition ideally ends with a fine selection of Impressionist works including two landscapes by  Monet, a portrait by Renoir and one of Degas’s famous ballet dancers.

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