Pennsylvania billionaire publisher Richard Mellon Scaife passed away on July 4th, leaving nearly half of his extensive art collection to the nearby Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art (BCMA.) His will also stated that BCMA receive a 900-acre estate he owned in western Pennsylvania, and $15 million for management.
According to AP, “most of the [donated art] works are by American artists. Scaife had written that he loved 19th- and 20th-century American landscapes but did not care for most French or modern art, though he had acquired some of each.”
BCMA will split Scaife’s collection with Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The will stipulates that each museum can decide how to divide up the collection, with directions that WMAA receive “at least eight paintings by John Kane, an artist who lived most of his life in western Pennsylvania and whose works depicted Pittsburgh during the industrial boom.”
Scaife, 82, died after complications from an untreatable form of cancer. He was heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortune, and he owned Trib Total Media, which publishes the Pittsburgh Tribute-Review, among others. His donation follows in the footsteps of his great-uncle Andrew Mellon, who donated a $40 million art collection and millions of dollars to create Washington’s National Gallery of Art. Scaife’s collection, according to his estate rep Attorney H. Yale Gutnick, has yet to be appraised.