Carolyn and Peter Lynch — Marblehead residents, travelers, philanthropists, and powerhouse American art collectors — lived among historic and beautiful objects every day, antiques they went on the hunt for together, brought home, then used and enjoyed. The couple, their three daughters (Mary, Annie, and Elizabeth), and family and friends ate meals around the vast Sam Maloof dining room table, glanced at their reflections in the Girandole mirror, and moved among paintings by Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe.
The furniture, paintings, ceramics, and textiles the Lynches’ collected are outward expressions of a life well lived, and that life is currently on display at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) through December 1, 2019. The exhibit, titled “A Passion for American Art: Selections from the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection,” is so much more than just its 120 works of decorative art; 76 pieces of furniture; 35 paintings and sculptures; and 10 Native American artworks. The show is an intimate look at how the Lynches visually mixed and lived with three centuries of creative works. The mediums they collected vary, but the message is the same: American art matters and has an important place in the world.
The Lynches’ had their separate interests, to be sure. He ran a little mutual fund at Fidelity called Magellan (just the best performing mutual fund in the world), she won a couple of bridge tournaments here and there (the Grand Life Master bridge player was a five-time national gold medal world champion). Carolyn died in October 2015 at age 69 from acute myeloid leukemia, leaving Peter, their daughters, and six grandchildren. This exhibit is something of a labor of love as Peter not only helped the PEM put it together, but donated three major artworks to the museum, all on display now, in his late wife’s name.
If you want to know how to collect and decorate like a financial genius and a bridge maven, here’s how it’s done, folks.
There’s much more to see at the exhibit, which runs through December 1, 2019. The way the Lynches’ amassed their collection itself evokes artistic expression. Pulled together as it is, the assemblage speaks of travel, exploration, curiosity, and an appreciation of American art as a living, evolving legacy.