Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art has received major donations from the American investor and philanthropist Peter Lynch, including 27 paintings and drawings worth around $20m and a $5m grant to support curation and exhibition of the collection. The gift, which includes works drawn from Lynch’s personal collection, primarily comprise pieces by American masters like John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt and Martin Johnson Heade.
Lynch hopes that the artworks, amassed over five decades, will enhance the museum’s permanent collection, which has strong holdings of American and European artworks, and in turn “help students to develop a deeper understanding of art and its importance as a form of expression”, and consider diverse styles of paintings that “depict the natural beauty of our country from its most celebrated painters”.
Notable works by non-American artists include an ink drawing of an Indigenous Mexican family by Diego Rivera from 1934, a pencil drawing of a bust by Pablo Picasso and three oil paintings by the Irish artist Jack Butler Yeats, including Farewell to Mayo (1929)—a work originally commissioned by the British actor Laurence Olivier as a wedding present to the actor Vivien Leigh, which Lynch bought at auction for around $805,000 in 1996.
Nancy Netzer, the museum’s director, says the “transformational gift allows expansion of our role as a vital educational resource”.
Lynch, the vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research, is a trustee associate at Boston College and graduated from the university in 1965. With his late wife Carolyn, he previously supported the university with a $20m gift in 2010 and a $10m donation in 1999.