Fidelity's Peter Lynch donates $20M art collection to Boston College

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Peter Lynch, vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research Company, has made a huge donation of art to Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art.

Lynch, a trustee associate at Boston College, has gifted 27 paintings and three drawings — worth in excess of $20 million — from his and his late wife Carolyn’s private art collection, according to a news release.

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The donation includes renowned works from Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and Jack Butler Yeats.

Diego Rivera, 1885–1957, ‘Family,’ 1934. Ink on paper. (Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art)

Along with the art comes a donation of an additional $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 the college's history.

For investors, the global art market has outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 25 years with average annual returns of 14% versus 9.5%, according to a 2020 Citi Bank report.

Lynch, who graduated from Boston College in 1965, has also beaten the S&P 500 – during 10 of the 13 years he managed Fidelity's flagship Magellan Fund, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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"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," said Lynch. "All students definitely can learn from this collection, which includes a diversity of styles of painting, many of which depict the natural beauty of our country from its most celebrated painters. I also wanted to enhance the McMullen Museum’s permanent collection through our donation and encourage others to follow."

Pablo Picasso, 1881–1973, ‘Head.’ Pencil on paper. (Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art)

Among the notable pieces in the collection 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 British actor Sir Laurence Olivier gifted as a wedding present to actress Vivien Leigh.

Nancy Netzer, the Inaugural Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director of the McMullen Museum, said the Museum is honored that the Lynch family has entrusted this outstanding collection to its care. 

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"Carolyn and Peter Lynch’s generosity and their focused, discerning collecting over many decades have brightened the future of the McMullen Museum’s offerings to New England and beyond.  We are profoundly grateful to them."

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Lynch said his personal favorites from the collection include Diego Rivera’s drawing of a family, the Martin Johnson Heade painting "Orchid and Hummingbirds Near a Mountain Lake," William Bradford’s "Among the Ice Floes," and Albert Bierstadt’s "Near the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains."

The Lynches have been longtime supporters of Boston College and are among the school’s most generous benefactors.

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