Ackland Art Museum Announces $25 Million Gift of Old Master Drawings

The gift includes seven drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn.

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Rembrandt van Rijn, Studies of a Woman and Two Children (circa 1640), one of seven Rembrandt drawings donated to the Ackland Art Museum by Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
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Esaias van de Velde, Landscape with a Group of Trees by a River (circa 1620). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Esaias van de Velde, Landscape with a Group of Trees by a River (circa 1620). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Paul Bril, View of a Harbor with a Tower (circa 1600). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp, Five Studies of Recumbent Sheep (circa 1646). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp, Five Studies of Recumbent Sheep (circa 1646). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Jacob Jordaens, Portrait of Elizabeth van Noort, the Artist's Mother-in-law (circa 1630s). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Jacob Jordaens, Portrait of Elizabeth van Noort, the Artist's Mother-in-law (circa 1630s). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Canal and Boats with a Distant View of Amsterdam (circa 1640), one of seven Rembrandt drawings donated to the Ackland Art Museum by Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Canal and Boats with a Distant View of Amsterdam (circa 1640), one of seven Rembrandt drawings donated to the Ackland Art Museum by Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Willem Schellinks, The Grotto of Virgil at Posillipo near Naples (circa 1661–65). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Willem Schellinks, The Grotto of Virgil at Posillipo near Naples (circa 1661–65). Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Studies of a Woman and Two Children (circa 1640), one of seven Rembrandt drawings donated to the Ackland Art Museum by Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Studies of a Woman and Two Children (circa 1640), one of seven Rembrandt drawings donated to the Ackland Art Museum by Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Peck Collection.

It’s a good day at the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), which has announced the receipt of a $25 million gift, including seven drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn. The gift comes from Sheldon Peck and Leena Peck, according to the New York Times.

Numbering 140 works on paper in total, including 134 European Old Master drawings, the physical donation, valued at $17 million, is accompanied by an $8 million endowment. In addition to the works by Rembrandt, there are works by artists including Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jan van Goyen.

“It’s certainly the most generous and largest gift the Ackland has ever received; it’s just mind-blowing,” said Ackland director Katie Ziglar to the Times of the “transformational” donation. “To be honest, it would be a big gift anywhere, even at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or another huge institution. I’ve been working in museums for 30 years, and it’s the largest gift that has been given to any museum I’ve worked for.”

The Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The donation comprises almost the entirety of the couple’s collection of Old Master drawings, amassed over the last 40 years. Their children will inherit a sketchbook and an album of Dutch and Flemish drawings, but the rest is going to the museum.

Sheldon Peck is a former Harvard professor and retired orthodontist who received both his undergraduate and doctorate at UNC, where he has taught as an adjunct professor of orthodontics since 2010. He told the Times that he and his wife almost never go through art dealers to buy art.

Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sheldon and Leena Peck. Courtesy of the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Peck’s collection augments the museum’s 18,000-object holdings, adding a much-needed depth in works on paper by Dutch and Flemish Old Masters.


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