Legendary Fidelity investor Peter Lynch has given more than $20 million in art from his and his late wife Carolyn’s private collection to Boston College. The gift includes 27 paintings and three drawings, which will go to Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art.
The donated art includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and Jack Butler Yeats.
In addition to the works of art, Lynch also gave a $5 million grant to support the ongoing curation and exhibition of what will be called the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch Collection, making the total gift “one of the largest in University history,” according to a press release from the school.
Lynch, former manager of Fidelity’s Magellan fund and current vice chairman of Fidelity, graduated in 1965 from Boston College. He said in the release that he donated the art to inspire students and museum visitors.
“My hope is that this artwork, all of which my wife Carolyn and I collected during our 50 years together, will help students to develop a deeper understanding of art and its importance as a form of expression,” he said.
The collection features a diversity of painting styles. Among the notable pieces are Pablo Picasso’s drawing Head; Winslow Homer’s painting Grace Hoops; Mary Cassatt’s watercolor Mother and Child; John Singer Sargent’s painting Olive Trees, Corfu; and Jack Butler Yeats’s 1929 painting Farewell to Mayo, which the actor Sir Laurence Olivier gave Vivien Leigh as a wedding present.
Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., the consultative curator of American art at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum and the former curator of American paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, called the collection “an extraordinary compilation of artwork.”
Nancy Netzer, the Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director of the McMullen Museum, called the donation “a transformational gift for the McMullen Museum.” She said the museum would work with Boston College faculty and students and other art scholars to conduct new research on the artwork and share it widely with other audiences.
Lynch said that when he and Carolyn married, they did not have the money to buy fine art so the collection came later. “We cherished having this art in our homes, but it is now time to give it away so that it can be studied and enjoyed by others.”
“I know that the collection was sought after by other museums, but I wanted it to go to my alma mater, which dramatically improved my life, and where my father taught mathematics and physics, my wife proudly received an honorary degree in 2009, and my daughter Annie spent four wonderful and productive years,” he said.
The Lynches have a long history of supporting Boston College. In 1999, they gave more than $10 million to name the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development. In 2010, their gift of $20 million established The Lynch Leadership Academy, which trains and provides support for principals and aspiring principals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“I am an extremely lucky person who has been so blessed in life,” said Lynch. “Giving this collection to Boston College is a small way for me to give back.”