February 26, 2019

A Passion for American Art: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection

by cns2020

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a blue and yellow swirl on a yellow background.
Martin Johnson Heade, 1819

On view at PEM May 11 through December 1, 2019

SALEM, MA — This spring, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents, A Passion for American Art: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection. For almost half a century, Carolyn and Peter Lynch shared an extraordinary life together, traveling widely and exploring American art and culture. Their intellectual curiosity and love of people, nature and the places they chose to call home were the primary catalysts for their passionate collecting. The couple were active participants in the groundswell of interest in collecting American art that followed the bicentennial in 1976 and assembled a diversified collection of American paintings, sculpture, furniture, and decorative art spanning three centuries.

Their broad-ranging collection includes spectacular, classical furniture from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia; works by American Impressionist masters, Childe Hassam and Frederick Carl Frieseke; modern furniture master, Sam Maloof; Massachusetts folk painter, J.O.J. Frost; and pioneering landscape painter, Martin Johnson Heade. Also included are works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer, and John Singer Sargent. 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: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection is on view at PEM from May 11 through December 1, 2019.

Exhibition Highlights:

  • This jewel-box exhibition of masterworks from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection features outstanding examples of American painting, furniture, and decorative arts that the couple collected and lived with in their homes.
  • This is the first time this collection has been displayed at a museum.
  • The exhibition includes 33 paintings and sculptures, 125 pieces of decorative art and more than 30 pieces of furniture.
  • The couple’s broad range of interests, from the 17th century to contemporary artists and craftsmen, is represented.
  • The flow of the exhibition gives a sense of how the couple integrated works of various periods into an architectural space, designed to foster an appreciation of the collection and to create a comfortable and enjoyable home.
  • American paintings, primarily from the 1850s – 1870s, demonstrate a preference for works that suggest a national coming of age and express American culture’s increasing cosmopolitanism.
  • Not content to limit themselves to the past, the Lynches embraced the contemporary studio furniture of modern master Sam Maloof and commissioned 26 pieces from him, including a dining room set and iconic rocking chairs.
  • Their ceramics collection includes concentrations of 20th-century Marblehead Pottery, midcentury examples by Boston- area artist Norman Arsenault, and pioneering works of Otto and Gertrud Amon Natzler.
  • After 2001, as the couple spent more time in the Southwest, Native American art and Western-themed American paintings and sculpture entered the collection.

About Carolyn and Peter Lynch:

  • Peter Lynch is best known for heading Fidelity’s Magellan Fund, one of the best known and best performing mutual funds in the world. He is also a known author of investment books and heads the Lynch Foundation.
  • Together, Peter and Carolyn Lynch established the Lynch Foundation in 1988 to provide resources and support to nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston community. Their interests have included education, cultural and historic preservation, health care and wellness and the religious and educational efforts of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Carolyn joined PEM’s Board of Overseers in May 1994 and then served for several years on its Board of Trustees. The Lynch Foundation generously created an endowment for the museum’s changing exhibition program.
  • In 2018, Peter Lynch donated three significant paintings to enrich PEM’s American Art collection in memory of his late wife, Carolyn Lynch. These following gifted works are featured in the exhibition:
    • Childe Hassam, East Headland, Appledore-Isle of Shoals, 1911, oil on canvas.
    • J.O.J. Frost, The March into Boston from Marblehead, April 16, 1861: There Shall be No More War, about 1925, oil on fiberboard.
    • Georgia O’Keeffe, Cedar and Red Maple, Lake George, 1921, oil on canvas.

Exhibition Publication: 
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.

Press Preview:
Please save the date for a press preview reception on Wednesday, May 8 from 6-8 pm. Invitation to follow.

Press Images:
High-resolution images and captions are available for download: goo.gl/4QWtEK

Image Credit:
Martin Johnson Heade, Orchid and Hummingbirds near a Mountain Lake, about 1875-90. Oil on canvas. Collection of Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch. Photography by Bob Packert/Peabody Essex Museum.

About the Peabody Essex Museum:
Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time — including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM’s campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $6. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org.

Media Contacts:
Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | 978-542-1828 | whitney_vandyke@pem.org
Kristen Levesque | Exhibition Publicist |207-329-3090| kristen_levesque@pem.org