T he Honorable C. Douglas Dillon was known for countless achievements over his lifetime. Among these one might wish to highlight his service as Ambassador to France under President Eisenhower and his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Subsequently, Mr. Dillon was Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, President of the Harvard Board of Overseers, Chairman of the Brookings Institution and Vice Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1989, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush, who noted that “the brilliant achievements of Douglas Dillon raise the nobility of public service to new heights.” The achievements of his first wife, Phyllis, were no less impressive. A recipient of many honors throughout her life, she had the distinction of being the first Ambassador’s wife ever to be presented with the French Légion d’honneur in 1957.
Together, the Dillons were great patrons of the arts with a particular focus on helping and elevating the museums in New York City. Mrs. Dillon served as a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art. Mr. Dillon served as a Trustee, then President and finally Chairman, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They amassed a world-class art collection which resulted in very significant gifts of Impressionist paintings, Chinese paintings, and porcelain to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The paintings in the following section constitute a part of this esteemed private collection.