The exhibition celebrates Paul Mellon and his wife Rachel ‘Bunny’ Lambert, two of the most important, refined patrons of the arts of the twentieth century.
The Bano Foundation is forging ahead with the exhibition series designed to present some of the world’s most prestigious private collections that have been made over into public hands. Following on the events devoted to the works of Joan Miró belonging to the Portuguese state and to those of Paul Gauguin and the Impressionists belonging to the Danish state, which attracted over a quarter of a million visitors to Padua, from 26 October 2019 to 1 March 2020, Palazzo Zabarella will be acting as the exclusive host in Italy for over seventy masterpieces by Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and others, celebrating Paul and Rachel ‘Bunny’ Lambert Mellon, two of the most important and refined patrons of the arts of the twentieth century. Curated by Colleen Yarger, the exhibition features a priceless selection of works on loan from the Mellon Collection of French Art at the Virginia Museum of Arts, covering a period from the mid-nineteenth century to the opening years of the twentieth, bridging the era that stretches from Romanticism to that of Cubism. The son of the entrepreneur Andrew Mellon, one of America’s richest men and a banker who also served as the United States’ Treasury Secretary, as well as an important art collector in his own right and a major driver behind the establishment of the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1937, Paul Mellon donated more than one thousand works from his father’s and his own collections to National Gallery. While his studies at Yale and Cambridge inspired him with great interest in British art, it was only after his marriage to Bunny Lambert, a great art lover and convinced Francophile, that the Mellons started buying the masterpieces of French art. In addition to their donations to the Washington National Gallery, the Mellons also made an important gift of a collection of French works to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, together with works of British and American art. It is these works of French art that will go on show in Palazzo Zabarella, reflecting the Mellons’ personal artistic sensitivity and their exceptional taste as collectors.