Lester D. Boronda (1885-1952)
The Steadman Barn
Oil on canvas
Mystic Museum of Art Permanent Collection
Donated by Margaret Bourque
Lester Boronda was born in Nevada, a descendant of prominent early Spanish settlers in that region. Although he was living in New York City and summering on Mason’s Island by 1916, Boronda’s work never lost the expansive feel of the West. He studied art in San Francisco, Paris, Munich, and New York.
Boronda was distinguished not only for his paintings, but also for his metalworking skills. The Firm of Beed, Inc., which he founded in New York in 1917, and which specialized in wrought iron work, derived its name from the initials B for Boronda, and D for Drew, his wife Ruby’s maiden name. The two e’s tied the letters together. Boronda created all of the wrought iron railings and chandeliers you can see throughout MMoA today.
Although Kenneth Bates, also on display in this exhibition, was the person to discover the property housing the old town dump was for sale along the banks of the Mystic River in 1930, it was Boronda who enthusiastically persuaded the other members of the Mystic Art Association to look past the slag heap and to recognize what an exciting, fabulous, and highly desirable location it was. When the vote was taken, the waterfront site was approved and the building in which you currently stand was constructed.
Lester Boronda was an avid contributor to the Mystic Art Colony and Mystic Art Association from around 1916 until his death in 1952.