Focus on the Peck Collection: Abraham Rademaker and Haarlem’s Spaarnwouder Gate
October 22, 2021 - January 16, 2022
In 1725, Abraham Rademaker (Dutch, 1675-1735) published his book Kabinet van Nederlandsche en Kleefsche Oudheden, which included 300 etchings depicting towns and historic architecture found in the northern Netherlands, the Rhine, and Cleeves. This Focus on the Peck Collection installation features two of the artist’s drawings of Haarlem’s Spaarnwouder Gate, the last gate to remain standing from the city’s medieval past, as well as his related etching, and a nineteenth-century photograph of the same structure. Since 1355, the gate served as one of twelve entry points into the city, and in 1631, it functioned as the primary entrance for passengers traveling via the Haarlemmertrekvaart canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, a mere twelve miles away. Rademaker’s depictions of Spaarnwouder Gate serve as an invaluable record of Haarlem’s great past as well as that of the broader Dutch Republic.
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. At least one example from the collection is always on view at the Museum, but because these works of art on paper are light-sensitive, we rotate a select number of drawings with other objects from our permanent collection in an ongoing display called Focus on the Peck Collection. Click below to see past installations.
Sheldon Peck, a native of Durham, North Carolina, 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 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. Sadly, Leena Peck passed away in January of 2019, and Sheldon Peck in April of 2021.
Image credit: Abraham Rademaker, Dutch, 1635-1735, A view of the Sparnwouder Gate in Haarlem, c. 1725, Graphite, pen and brown ink, brown wash on paper, sheet: 4 3/4 x 7 15/16 in. (12 x 20.2 cm). The Peck Collection, 2017.1.117.