IN 1937, Andrew Mellon gave to the Nation his magnificent art collection and the funds to construct in Washington the National Gallery of Art. President Roosevelt and Congress anticipated that someday the National Gallery might need to expand, and Congress reserved the area adjoining the National Gallery--the area bounded by Fourth Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Third Street, and North Mall Drive, NW.--as a site for future additions.
Today, I have been informed by the Chairman of the Trustees of the National Gallery, Chief Justice Earl Warren, that a gift of $20 million has been made to the National Gallery of Art. The money will be used to construct a new addition to the Gallery on the land reserved 30 years ago by Congress.
It is fitting that this dramatic new initiative in the enrichment and beautification of the Nation's Capital should come from the son and daughter of the original benefactor of the National Gallery--Mr. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce.
The gift of Mr. Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce will make possible a new building housing a Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts which will serve as a meeting ground for teachers and scholars from all over the world. Their gift will also permit the Gallery to expand its extension services which already reach 3,000 communities in all 50 States.
I hope that Congress, in considering legislation to authorize the new construction, will fully appreciate the fact that this new addition to the National Gallery can be built without the expenditure of one dollar of Federal funds.
On behalf of the present and future generations of Americans and visitors from all over the world to whom this gift will bring so much pleasure and stimulation, I wish to express to Mr. Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce our sincere gratitude.