Finance Titan Peter Lynch Has Donated $20 Million Worth of Art to Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art

Pieces by Picasso, Sargent, Cassatt, and more are bound for Lynch’s alma mater, along with a $5 million grant.

Peter Lynch, former manager of the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments, is photographed at home in Boston on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.
Peter Lynch, former manager of the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments, is photographed at home in Boston on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

More than $20 million worth of art—including pieces by Mary Cassatt, Diego Rivera, and Pablo Picasso—is heading to Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art, thanks to a gift from investor Peter Lynch.

Today, the institution announced that the philanthropist has bequeathed 27 paintings and three drawings, which he and his late wife amassed over the course of five decades. The donation also comes with a $5 million grant that will be put toward the exhibition and curation of the group of artworks, which will henceforth be called the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch Collection. It is one of the largest gifts in the history of the school, based in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

“My hope is that this artwork…will help students to develop a deeper understanding of art and its importance as a form of expression,” Lynch in a statement. 

Winslow Homer, <i>Grace Hoops</i> (1872). Courtesy of Boston College.

Winslow Homer, Grace Hoops (1872). Courtesy of Boston College.

Among the artworks are Winslow Homer’s portrait of two girls playing a hoop-and-stick game, Grace Hoops (1872); John Singer Sargent’s European landscape painting Olive Trees, Corfu (1909); and Jack Butler Yeats’s canvas Farewell to Mayo (1929), which actor Laurence Olivier had given to his second wife, Vivien Leigh, as a wedding present. 

Nancy Netzer, director of the museum and a professor of art history at Boston College, called Lynch’s donation “transformational, allowing an expansion of our role as a vital educational resource offered free of charge—not only to the Boston College community, but also to all students and the public, wherever they may be.”

John Singer Sargent, <i>Olive Trees, Corfu</i> (1909). Courtesy of Boston College.

John Singer Sargent, Olive Trees, Corfu (1909). Courtesy of Boston College.

One of the most successful investors and hedge-fund managers of his generation, Lynch attended Boston College as a legacy student, graduating in 1965; he has maintained a strong relationship with the school (popularly known as B.C.) ever since. He and his wife, who passed away 2015, are among the school’s biggest philanthropic supporters over the last quarter-century, donating $10 million in 1999 and $20 million in 2010.

“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,” Lynch added.

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, <i>Mother and Child</i>. Courtesy of Boston College.

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Mother and Child. Courtesy of Boston College.

“I hope that many of our 10 grandchildren will go to B.C., where they and their classmates can view the art our children grew up admiring,” he added, “and that visitors from throughout New England will come to see the collection at this jewel of a museum.” 


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