Collection Theme

Ailsa Mellon Bruce: A Legacy of Decorative Arts

Ailsa Mellon Bruce (1901–1969), heiress to the fortunes of Pittsburgh business magnate and US Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon, was a dedicated philanthropist and supporter of the arts.

A passionate collector, she had a particular interest in French furniture and German and English porcelain. Each of her residences boasted fine examples of European furniture, silver, glass, and especially porcelain.

Throughout the 1940s, Mrs. Bruce was a tireless supporter of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, which was established by her father, and she bequeathed her collection of paintings to that institution. In 1970, nearly 3,000 objects that had been owned by Ailsa Mellon Bruce came to Carnegie Museum of Art, changing the character of the museum’s decorative arts collection almost overnight. Mrs. Bruce’s legacy continues through endowed acquisition funds bearing her name and perpetuating her impeccable eye for style and design.