Peabody Essex Museum
May 11 through December 1, 2019The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents the debut exhibition of an outstanding collection of American painting, furniture, and decorative arts that was assembled by philanthropists, Carolyn and Peter Lynch, over the course of fifty years. A Passion for American Art: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection takes visitors on the personal collecting journey of a couple that shared an extraordinary life together.
Through travel, exploration, and intellectual curiosity, the Lynches amassed a broad-ranging collection that includes spectacular, classic furniture from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia; paintings by Childe Hassam, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, and John Singer Sargent; works by modern furniture master Sam Maloof; and pottery by Otto and Gertrud Natzler.
Also featured are three significant works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Childe Hassam, and J.O.J. Frost that were recently donated to PEM by Peter Lynch in memory of his late wife, Carolyn Lynch. By embracing an organic approach to collecting and by freely integrating multiple subjects, time frames and media, the Lynches created lively conversations about artistic creativity, regional styles, and evolving traditions in America. A Passion for American Art is on view at PEM from May 11 through December 1, 2019.
This jewel-box exhibition celebrates the couple’s abiding love of nature and of American history through 120 works of decorative art, 36 pieces of furniture, 35 paintings and sculptures, and 10 Native American artworks. The majority of the works are pristine examples of American creativity from the 18th and 19th centuries – an era when many artists echoed the latest styles and forms from Europe while also striving to express new American ideals, beliefs, and regional tastes.
Published by the Peabody Essex Museum, the major 224-page publication, A Passion for American Art: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection, celebrates the outstanding examples of American painting, furniture, decorative arts, and Native American art from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch collection. This luxuriously illustrated book traces the couple’s growth as collectors, their cultural and aesthetic affinities and their relationships with artists and fellow collectors. Writer Jeanne Schinto offers a profile of the Lynches and a view into how the collection expresses the couple’s distinctly American sensibility. PEM’s Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Art, Dean Lahikainen, shares an introduction to the collection and a series of short essays by PEM curators explore how the Lynches combined diverse works in the living spaces of their homes. The exhibition catalog will be available this spring at pemshop.com.
"This exhibition allows us to marvel not only at the range of American traditions and creativity but also appreciate how collecting can amplify a sense of place and express aesthetic and intellectual values,” says Lahikainen.
PHILANTHROPISTS AND ART LOVERS
Best known for heading Fidelity’s Magellan Fund, the best performing mutual fund in the world, Peter Lynch is also a major philanthropist. Together, the couple established the Lynch Foundation in 1988 to support nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston community. For many years, Carolyn served as a PEM Trustee and Overseer and helped found the museum’s American Decorative Arts Committee. In 2014, the Lynch Foundation generously created an endowment for the PEM’s robust changing exhibition program.
A Passion for American Art features three works given to PEM’s American art collection by Peter Lynch in memory of his late wife. These include Marblehead folk artist J.O.J. Frost, American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam, and American master Georgia O’Keeffe. PEM has presented solo exhibitions in recent years of both Hassam’s and O’Keeffe’s works.