Lyn Bolen Warren, pioneering gallerist and brilliant art historian, passed away peacefully at home at the age of 60 on November 21, 2021.
Lyn transformed the cultural landscape of Charlottesville, Virginia, and the larger Mid-Atlantic by creating a vibrant context for the exhibition, promotion and appreciation of high-caliber modern and contemporary art. Her generous, open spirit and impeccable credentials fostered her extraordinary ability to communicate, in the most meaningful ways, her belief in visual art as a vital, beneficial aspect of human experience.
Raised in Galax, Virginia, by Mrs. Carolyn Hill Bolen and Dr. John William Bolen, Lyn graduated from Davidson College summa cum laude (1983) and won a prestigious internship at the Guggenheim Museum. She then entered the graduate program in Art History at the University of Virginia, where she earned an MA and a Ph.D. (1994). The syncretic and original nature of her dissertation research on the role and meaning of dance choreography in modern art led to an appointment at UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, an honor extended to only a handful of graduate students university-wide. She also curated a widely-admired show on dance in modern art for UVA’s art museum, securing loans of artworks from elite global institutions. This was followed by her powerful and internationally acclaimed art exhibition “Hindsight Fore-site: Art for the Millennium” (2000), which juxtaposed provocative contemporary works with important historic sites throughout Virginia and included the publication of a major book of essays.
As the Director of Les Yeux du Monde Gallery, which she founded in 1995, Lyn championed both established and emerging artists and curated beautiful and compelling shows that united artists and viewers in an exciting exchange of ideas that reverberated throughout the greater cultural community. Migrating from the walls of her mountaintop home to the bohemian milieu of Starr Hill, to the airy rooms of her Water Street establishment and back again to the iconic structure she built on her property in collaboration with famed architect W. G. Clark, Les Yeux du Monde has been, since its inception, a locus of serious artistic endeavor.
Through her tireless orchestration of openings, talks, a Collectors’ Club, museum tours, artist lunches, multigenre performances and collaborative shows, Lyn shared her passion and intellect with the community around her. Driven by a belief that art could be a conduit for healing, growth and understanding, she benevolently brought art to the places that needed it most: hospitals, schools, non-profits and outdoor spaces that enabled the larger community to be moved and transformed in a way she knew possible through art.
Lyn also co-founded the Lydia Csato Gasman Archives for Picasso and Modernist Studies to preserve and disseminate the work of her esteemed mentor, hosting much-anticipated biannual Picasso shows and galas to further that cause and solidify Charlottesville as an epicenter for the arts. Together with her husband, artist Russ Warren, Lyn gave popular talks on art and business at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce and served on Davidson College’s Art Acquisition Committee.
Lyn was a rare person possessed of an acute, visionary intelligence and fierce drive, coupled with a hospitable warmth and infectious kindness, which made everything she did seem graceful and effortless. Adored by her family and friends, she remains a cosmic beacon of light and inspiration for all who had the great good fortune to be in her orbit. Lyn is survived by her beloved family: husband, Russ Warren of Charlottesville, Virginia; daughter, Hagan Rushton Tampellini and her husband, John, of Charlottesville, Virginia and New York, New York; son, Ray Rushton of Richmond, Virginia; mother, Carolyn Bolen Warren and her husband, Dr. Bertram Warren, of Galax and Charlottesville, Virginia; stepdaughter, Tasha Warren and her husband, Guy Yehuda, of Okemos, Michigan; stepdaughter, Marie Hegland of Charlotte, North Carolina; brother, Dr. John Bolen and his wife, Alison, of Galax, Virginia; niece, Jacquelyn Bolen and her fiancé, Nick Sutter, of Washington, D.C.; and nephew, John Bolen and his wife, Beverley, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
A celebration of Lyn’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. The family will receive friends at the church beforehand beginning at 12 p.m.
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