Melzac Art Collection

About the Melzac Art Collection

Every day, Agency employees walk past several abstract paintings that hang throughout the Headquarters buildings. These 29 paintings do not just break up the acres of wall space. They represent an elemental approach to art, a swashbuckling donor, and a connection to the architecture of the OHB.

The way the eye perceives color and pattern were the subjects of Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing, Alma Thomas, and the other artists of the Washington Color School. Their patron — and the donor of this collection to the Agency, the late Vincent Melzac — was a larger-than-life figure.

Melzac’s first loan of art to the CIA came in 1968, when eight large paintings by Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, and Jack Bush were selected by officials of the Corcoran Gallery to fit the large open spaces of OHB. A sculpture by Giorgio Spaventa was also loaned at that time; it now resides in the Vatican. Melzac also donated the bust of George Bush by sculptor Marc Mellon which is near the OHB lobby. Melzac was awarded the Agency Seal Medallion by DCI Casey in 1982 for his generous support to the CIA.