Bucks County Herald

Bonnie O’Boyle’s art collection will preview at Phillips’ Mill

Rae Sloan Bredin’s “May Day” is in the collection of early Bucks County Impressionists.

Freeman’s in Philadelphia will present at auction “A Bucks County Life: The Collection of Bonnie O’Boyle,” a single owner sale exhibiting the eclectic taste of the local philanthropist who surrounded herself with Pennsylvania art, craft and design in her historic farmhouse in Doylestown.

Auction highlights will be on view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15 at the Phillips’ Mill Community Association on River Road, north of New Hope.

The main exhibition is Dec. 5-9 at Freeman’s, 1808 Chestnut St. Philadelphia. The auction is at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10.

O’Boyle was a renaissance woman, one who was ahead of her time, and whose many passions defined her life. Born in Bristol, O’Boyle graduated as valedictorian from local boarding school Eden Hall in 1963, before attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude.

An accomplished journalist, she worked for more than two decades for various boating publications beginning in 1980 as an associate and managing editor. In 1985, she co-founded Power & Motoryacht magazine.

An active member of her beloved Bucks County community, O’Boyle was a generous benefactress, giving her time to several art and community organizations, including the James A. Michener Art Museum, the Friends of Silver Lake Nature Center, and the Bucks County SPCA.

She collected across categories that spoke to her deep and varied interests, namely nature, animals, and colors. “Bonnie’s enthusiasm for a diversity of life experiences is echoed in the tangible compositions she gathered around her; vibrant, well-crafted, thought-provoking, evocative of an era, and reflective of a curious mind,” said Lisa Tremper Hanover, former director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum.

Pennsylvania Impressionism The first portion of the sale comprises a group of works by Pennsylvania Impressionists, including paintings and drawings by Harry Leith-Ross, Walter Elmer Schofield, John Folinsbee and others, many of which O’Boyle acquired at Freeman’s.

Highlights include two landscapes by William Lathrop and Kenneth Nunamaker, both painted en plein air. While the former is considered the founder of the Pennsylvania Impressionist School and served as a mentor to many of the artists who flocked to New Hope, the latter artist was strongly influenced by the paintings of Edward Redfield, who took the young artist under his wing to teach him the principles of light and color.

Modern & Contemporary Art
O’Boyle’s bold taste is also reflected in her collection of Modern and Contemporary paintings. It contains an array of paintings and sculptures by American artists of the 20th century, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Carroll Cloar and Cristina Vergano.

Pennsylvania Craft & Design
The Design section of the sale includes works by preeminent American studio woodworkers including Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Arthur Espenet Carpenter, and others.

A selection of high-fired ceramic works by the late Benedictine monk Brother Thomas Bezanson, and artist-turned-potter Toshiko Takaezu add texture to the collection with porcelainbowls and vases in a dazzling array of expressionistic glazes.

O’Boyle developed strong bonds with many artists in the Bucks County community, recalls her sister, Valerie Shartle.

This auction will be bookended by Freeman’s seasonal American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists and Design auctions, occurring on Dec. 9 and 10, respectively.


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