Arts & Humanities

Rare Rembrandts star in Ackland’s first major Peck Collection show

Opening today, “Drawn to Life” includes more than 70 pieces from the transformative gift of 130 Dutch and Flemish drawings from 17th and 18th centuries.

Rembrandt brown and pen ink landscape showing canal and boats
Rembrandt van Rijn's “Landscape with Canal and Boats,” c. 1655.

Drawn to Life: Master Drawings from the Age of Rembrandt in the Peck Collection” at the Ackland Art Museum features over 70 exceptional Dutch drawings from the 17th century, many previously unpublished and rarely exhibited. A number of drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn, the most celebrated artist of this period, and his pupils, represent a particular highlight of the exhibition. Since drawings are sensitive to light and can only be displayed for short periods of time, this exhibition is a rare occasion not to be missed. Following its run at the Ackland, “Drawn to Life” will travel to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam from March 18-June 11, 2023.

“Drawn to Life” is the first major exhibition of the Peck Collection since its donation by the late Drs. Sheldon and Leena Peck. The Pecks’ transformative gift of over 130 largely 17th- and 18th-century Dutch and Flemish drawings in 2017 established the Ackland as one of a handful of university art museums in the United States where scholars and students can study northern European drawings in depth.

“Drawn to Life” brings together a broad selection of images depicting landscapes, everyday life, portraits, preparatory studies and biblical and historical scenes, forming a dynamic and representative group of drawings made by some of the most outstanding artists of the period. Drawings by well-known artists, such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan van Goyen, Adriaen van Ostade, Ferdinand Bol, Nicolaes Maes, Jan Lievens and Gerard ter Borch, among others, appear alongside sheets by lesser-known artists like Guillam Du Bois, Herman Naiwincx, Willem Romeyn and Jacob van der Ulft, demonstrating the discerning eye for quality developed by the Pecks over four decades.

Organized around five thematic groupings, including Artists at Work; The Traveling Artist; The New Landscape; Mirror of the Everyday; and Rembrandt and his Followers, “Drawn to Life” celebrates the creativity and technical skills of Dutch artists who explored the beauty of the natural world and the dynamic, multifaceted aspects of humanity.

An accompanying catalog, meticulously researched and written by Ackland Peck Research Fellow Robert Fucci, and published by Paul Holberton Publishing, introduces scholars and drawing enthusiasts to the depth and beauty of the Peck Collection. A website devoted to the entire Peck Collection, which will feature superior image viewing capabilities and up-to-date information, will launch at the time of the exhibition.

“Drawn to Life: Master Drawings from the Age of Rembrandt in the Peck Collection” at the Ackland Art Museum is curated by Dana Cowen, Sheldon Peck Curator for European and American Art before 1950, and Robert Fucci.

Learn more about the exhibition and related programs.