Focus on the Peck Collection: Wallerant Vaillant, Master Portraitist

January 22, 2021 - April 18, 2021

Portrait drawing of Antoine III, Duc de Gramont, Marshal of France

During the seventeenth century, Dutch artist Wallerant Vaillant created portraits of Europe’s most illustrious members of society. This Focus on the Peck Collection installation features two portrait drawings created by the artist during the well-attended 1658 Diet of Frankfurt. With skillful application of black and white chalk, Vaillant masterfully imbued Antoine III Agénor de Gramont and Hermann Egon von Fürstenberg with gravitas and dignity. Both drawings were gifted to the Ackland by Sheldon and Leena Peck, but at different times—the first in 1993 and the second, pictured here, in 2017 as part of the couple’s larger gift.



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.


About Sheldon and Leena Peck

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.


Resource Links

Podcast – “Well Said: The Peck Collection”
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


Image credit:

Wallerant Vaillant. Dutch, 1623-1677, Antoine III, Duc de Gramont, Marshal of France (detail), 1658, black and white chalk on blue paper, 23 5/16 × 18 1/8 in. (59.2 × 46 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.83.

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