Fifty paintings, 24 sculptures, and 19 prints and drawings by 19th- and 20 th-century European and American artists have been given to the National Gallery of Art by Paul Mellon. The collection had been collected by him and Mrs. Mellon over 30 years.
The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works include six paintings by Claude Monet and 10 by Eugene Boudin, the artist who first encouraged Monet to paint directly from nature. Also included are two works by both Paul Gauguin and Mary Cassatt, and one each by Frederic Bazille, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Georges Seurat.
Five paintings and 19 prints and drawings by American artist George Bellow, together with 24 modern sculptures and 10 pictures by 18th- and early 19 th-century British painters, are also among the group. Other European painters represented are Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Kenzo Okada, Nicolas de Stael, Jacques Villon, and Edouard Vuillard.
''This gift magnificently strengthens the gallery's collection in a variety of fields,'' commented J. Carter Brown, the gallery director. ''The French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings (help to) give us one of the finest assemblages of works of art in the world from this key chapter in the history of art.''
The sculpture will go on public view for the first time in a part of the new ground floor galleries opening to the public in the West Building today (Feb. 3 ). Most of the paintings will be on public exhibition immediately.
Mr. Mellon, son of the gallery's founder, Andrew W. Mellon, is chairman of the board of the National Gallery.