In January 2017, the Ackland Art Museum received its largest gift to date when Sheldon Peck (UNC-Chapel Hill, BS ’63, DDS ’66) and his wife Leena donated their extraordinary collection of 134 mostly 17th-century Dutch and Flemish master drawings, as well as significant funds for the stewardship of the collection, new acquisitions, and an endowed curatorial position in European and American art before 1950.
Focus on the Peck Collection is an ongoing series of installations selected from the Peck Collection and the Ackland’s other holdings of related works of art, with the goal of supporting education in comparative looking, historical analysis, and appreciation of quality.
Festive gatherings, village celebrations, lively music, and dancing peasants: revelries were a popular subject in seventeenth-century Dutch art. This installation brings together two drawings from The Peck Collection and two prints that highlight this theme.
Focus on the Peck Collection is made possible by the Ackland’s Peck Collection Endowment Fund.
- Video – A Transformational Gift of Art
- Video – “The Art and Science of Collecting the Old Masters,” A Talk by Dr. Sheldon Peck, UNC-Chapel Hill, 21 May 2017
- UNC Press Release – Gift of The Peck Collection
- Legacy Website – Images and Scholarly Information on a Portion of The Peck Collection
- Complete Illustrated List of Works in The Peck Collection at the Ackland
Sheldon Peck, a native of Durham, is a double alumnus of the University, receiving his undergraduate degree from Carolina in 1963 and his doctorate from the UNC School of Dentistry in 1966. He and Leena have enjoyed distinguished careers as prominent orthodontic specialists and educators in the Boston area.
The Peck Collection started as a collaboration between Sheldon and his late brother Harvey and continued as a joint interest shared with Leena. The result of over 40 years of exceptional connoisseurship, scientifically rigorous analysis, and dedicated pursuit, the Peck Collection stands as an internationally significant achievement.
11 August – 8 October 2017 – Click for PDF
The theme of our third installation of works from The Peck Collection took its cue from one of the drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn: his depiction of the Biblical scene known as “Noli me tangere,” when Mary Magdalene recognizes the voice of the resurrected Jesus, whom she had taken for a gardener, as he tells her not to touch him (John 20:16-17). Accompanying Rembrandt’s rendering of this poignant moment are contrasting versions of the same scene by two other early modern Northern European artists: a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer and a painting by Gerard Seghers.
9 June – 6 August 2017 – Click for PDF
The second installation from The Peck Collection highlighted the fascination with architectural ruins that was so prevalent in Dutch and Flemish culture of the years around 1600. Whether an evocation of the Roman antiquity or a meditation on the historical fate of native structures, the subjects of the three drawings in this installment are related by the power of images showing decay, damage, and the ravages of time. Importantly, these drawings are also landscapes, setting the deterioration of buildings into the context of vibrant nature.
29 March to 4 June 2017 – Click for PDF
For the first installation, we selected one drawing from each of the three major areas of the Peck Collection: a drawing by Rembrandt van Rijn, representing 17th-century Dutch art; one by Jacob Jordaens, for 17th-century Flemish art; and one by Henrik van Cranenburgh, for 18th-century Dutch art.
In its range of media—from pen and ink to colored chalks to graphite and gray wash—and the variety of subject matter—a genre study, a portrait, and a set of six studies of the same subject—the installation offers a glimpse of the extraordinary depth and quality of the Peck Collection, which will be investigated in an ongoing series of presentations over the coming years.
Images: Works from The Peck Collection, Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Adriaen van de Venne, Dutch, 1589-1662: Wildly Dancing Peasant Couple, With Bagpiper and Onlookers, n.d.; graphite on paper
The Peck Collection, 2017.1.90
Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669: Noli me tangere, n.d.; Pen and brown ink with touches of brown wash on paper. 2017.1.68.
Hendrik Hondius the Elder, Dutch, 1573-after 1649: Ruins of Castle Spangen, c. 1640-1650; pen and brown ink and brown wash, over black chalk on paper. 2017.1.45
Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669: Studies of a Woman and Two Children, c. 1640; reed pen and finger rubbing in dark brown (iron gall) ink. 2017.1.64.