The Ackland Art Museum’s collection of over 20,000 works spans time and culture, showcasing the breadth and depth of human expression.

About the Collection


The collection of the Ackland Art Museum now includes more than 20,000 works of art. The Museum makes acquisitions on the basis of three criteria:

  1. artistic excellence (compelling visual form and thematic content),
  2. relationship to the existing collection and the exhibition program, and
  3. potential for teaching and learning.

In the words of an early mission statement, the Museum acquires objects “chosen for their quality and their ability to convey the breadth of human achievement in the visual arts.” This encyclopedic ambition has given the Museum a substantial collection well-suited for our diverse communities. The collection forms the foundation for our exhibition program and our service to University students and faculty.

Highlights from the Collection

An Iznik Pottery Dish
Unidentified artist, c. 1570
Unidentified artist, Turkish, Ottoman, An Iznik Pottery Dish, c. 1570, ceramic, 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm). Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gift of the William E. Shipp Estate, by exchange, 2019.49.
St. John the Evangelist
Valentin de Boulogne, c. 1622-1623
Valentin de Boulogne, French, 1591-1632, St. John the Evangelist, c. 1622-1623, oil on canvas, 38 5/16 × 52 15/16 in. (97.3 × 134.5 cm). The William A. Whitaker Foundation Art Fund, 63.4.1.
Portrait of Mary Emma Jones
Emma Sandys, 1874
Emma Sandys, British, 1843-1877, Portrait of Mary Emma Jones, 1874, oil on board, 20 x 15 1/4 in. (50.8 x 38.7 cm). Gift of Lauren M. Sanford in honor of Professor Mary D. Sheriff, 2018.41.
The Wave
Émile Bernard, 1892
Émile Bernard, French, 1868-1941, The Wave, 1892, oil on pulpwood board, mounted on canvas, 22 3/4 x 33 9/16 in. (57.8 x 85.2 cm). Ackland Fund, 71.29.1. Conservation treatment for this painting, completed in 1993, was made possible by the William Hayes Ackland Trust.
Study for Idrissa Ndiaye
Kehinde Wiley, 2007
Kehinde Wiley, American, born 1977, Study for Idrissa Ndiaye, 2007, oil wash on paper, 30 x 23 in. (76.2 x 58.4 cm). Ackland Fund, 2008.7.
Louis Stone, 1950
Louis Stone, American, 1902-1984, Untitled, 1950, oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 29 5/8 in. (64.1 x 75.2 cm). Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Lane Stokes, 91.33.
Perforated Screen
Unidentified artist, c. 1605-27
Unidentified Artist, Mughal, Jahangir period, Perforated Screen, c. 1605-27, sandstone, Special Acquisition Fund, 2019.16.3.
Karl Knaths, c. 1967
Karl Knaths, American, 1891-1971, Lilacs, c. 1967, oil on canvas, 36 x 42 in. (91.4 x 106.7 cm). Bequest of Charles and Isabel Eaton, 2009.31.59.
Eagle Eye
Nam June Paik, 1996
Nam June Paik, South Korean, active in the United States, 1932-2006, Eagle Eye, 1996, antique slide projector, aluminum, computer keyboards, eye chart, neon, 9 five-inch televisions, 2 nine-inch televisions, dvd player, dvd, 66 11/16 x 86 3/8 x 24 1/2 in. (169.4 x 219.4 x 62.2 cm). Ackland Fund, 99.8.