Focus on the Peck Collection

29 March 2017 - 30 December 2018

Background • On ViewResource Links • About the Pecks • Past Installments


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.

On View

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.

23 February – 22 April 2018 – Click for PDF

The four drawings on display are amongst those studied in detail by undergraduate students in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Art and History in the fall semester of 2017. Fifteen students in the Art History Undergraduate Research Seminar proposed new interpretations and understandings of fifteen of the Peck Collection drawings. The students had many opportunities to view the drawings up close, and they even had the chance to meet and share their findings with Dr. Sheldon Peck, who visited the seminar in October 2017. In their research, the four students whose drawings have been selected for this exhibition made important discoveries.

Focus on the Peck Collection is made possible by the Ackland’s Peck Collection Endowment Fund.

Resource Links


About Sheldon and Leena Peck

Sheldon and Leena PeckSheldon 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 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.

Past Installments


15 December 2017 – 18 February 2018 – Click for PDFCornelis Dusart, "Study of a Man Standing with his Left Foot on a Stool," c. 1680-86.

The current selection from the Peck Collection demonstrates the broad scope of the artist Cornelis Dusart (1660–1704) in terms of his subjects, media, the function of his works, and dates. Like artistic activity in Haarlem on the whole during the seventeenth century, Dusart maintained an energetic practice, especially in his drawings.

13 October – 10 December 2017 Click for PDFAdriaen van de Venne, "Wildly Dancing Peasant Couple, With Bagpiper and Onlookers," n.d.

Festive gatherings, village celebrations, lively music, and dancing peasants: revelries were a popular subject in seventeenth-century Dutch art. This installation brought together two drawings from The Peck Collection and two prints that highlighted this theme.

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 Rembrandt van Rijn, "Noli me tangere," n.d.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 2017Click for PDF

Hendrik Hondius the Elder, "Ruins of Castle Spangen," n.d.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

Rembrandt van Rijn, "Studies of a woman and two children," n.d.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. 

Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606 – 1669: Study of a West African Woman, c. 1633-35, pen and brown ink on paper. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.62

Cornelis Dusart, Dutch, 1660-1704: Study of a Man Standing with his Left Foot on a Stool, c. 1680-86; black and red chalk on paper, 2017.1.25.

Adriaen van de Venne, Dutch, 1589-1662: Wildly Dancing Peasant Couple, With Bagpiper and Onlookers, n.d.; graphite on paper, 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.