Drawn to Life: Master Drawings from the Age of Rembrandt in the Peck Collection at the Ackland Art Museum brings together over 70 Dutch drawings from the 17th century, among them several by Rembrandt. Many of these works are previously unpublished and rarely exhibited. Since drawings are sensitive to light and can only be sparingly displayed, this exhibition is a rare occasion not to be missed. Following its run at the Ackland in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from September 23 to December 31, 2022, Drawn to Life will travel to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.

The first major exhibition of the Peck Collection since its donation to the Ackland — the art museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — by the late Drs. Sheldon and Leena Peck, Drawn to Life brings together landscapes, portraits, preparatory studies, and biblical and historical scenes, forming a dynamic group of drawings made by some of the most outstanding artists of the period. Drawings by well-known and lesser-known artists appear side by side, demonstrating the discerning eye developed by the Pecks over four decades. The Pecks’ transformative gift of over 130 Dutch and Flemish drawings established the Ackland as one of a handful of public university art museums in the United States where scholars and students can study northern European drawings in depth.

Pieter van Laer (attributed to), “Figures Dancing Around a Fire” (c. 1625-30), pen and brown ink and gray wash on blue paper, 9 1/8 x 11 1/4 inches (The Peck Collection, 2020.3)

Organized around five thematic groupings, Drawn to Life celebrates the creativity and skill of Dutch artists who explored the beauty of the natural world and the multifaceted aspects of humanity. A catalogue by one of the exhibition’s co-curators, Robert Fucci, PhD, showcases the breadth of the Peck Collection. A website devoted to the Peck Collection, peck.ackland.org, will launch with the show.

Free and low-cost public programs related to Drawn to Life include a curator’s tour; drawing classes for all ages; take-home art kits for families; a concert of Dutch keyboard and viol music; a lecture by a specialist in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish Art, Wayne Franits; an Acktoberfest event with beer and cheese pairings and still-life drawing stations; and an art and literature discussion of Nina Segal’s novel The Anatomy Lesson. Admission to the Ackland is always free.

For more information, visit ackland.org.

Drawn to Life is curated by Dana Cowen, PhD, Sheldon Peck Curator for European and American Art before 1950, and Robert Fucci, PhD.

Aelbert Cuyp, “Five Studies of Recumbent Sheep” (detail), black chalk, oiled black chalk, and gray wash on paper, sheet: 6 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches (The Peck Collection, 2017.1.18)
Nicolaes Berchem, “Travelers in an Italian Landscape” (1655), brush and brown and gray ink over black chalk on paper, 5 11/16 x 7 7/8 inches (The Peck Collection, 2017.1.3)
Lambert Doomer, “Village scene with houses and a hog-backed bridge over a narrow canal” (1645), pen and brown ink, brush in gray ink on paper, sheet: 8 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches (The Peck Collection, 2017.1.20)

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