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The Living Legacy of Clara S. Peck: Rockwell Collection Hero

From September 23, 2023 to January 28, 2024

Location: Spotlight Gallery (Floor 1M)

One of The Rockwell Museum’s favorite philanthropists is Clara S. Peck, whose gifts continue to shape our collections.

In 1983, Peck gifted several artworks from her own collection to the museum, as well as funds that allow us to acquire new works of art. As you explore The Rockwell Museum’s collections, you will notice the Peck name everywhere with artworks labeled “Bequest of Clara S. Peck” and “Clara S. Peck Fund.”

Chosen from the nearly 600 works of art purchased with the “Clara S. Peck Fund,” this exhibition highlights and explores how this generous gift from The Rockwell Museum’s favorite philanthropists has, and continues, to shape our collection. Her donation complemented the original Rockwell Family collection and gave The Rockwell Museum the chance to grow and evolve. 

Dan Namingha, Spirit Assemblage, 1988, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2013.9.

Flo Perkins, Spearmint Cactus, 2000, Glass, plastic, 8 ½ x 6 ¾ x 7 in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2000.37.

Francis Blackbear Bosin, Winter Crossing, 1963, Gouache on colored illustration board, 24 ¾ × 38 ½ in. Bequest of Clara S. Peck. 83.46.27 F.

Frank Schoonover, Ojibway Indian Spearing the Maskenozha (Pike), 1923, Oil on canvas, 40 ½ x 30 ¼ in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 97.1 F.

Richard Hunt, Take Off, 1986, Cast & welded bronze with gold patina, 12 x 6 x 4 in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2022.8.1.

Olaf Wieghorst, Appaloosa, circa 1950, Oil on Masonite, 13 x 11 in. Bequest of Clara S. Peck. 83.46.20 F.

Peck’s Living Legacy

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Clara S. Peck’s donation. Looking back, we can see how our collection has grown and changed based on our evolving mission and values.

The core of our collection was the gift of Bob and Hertha Rockwell, local business owners who gathered an incredible collection of Western American art and objects of material culture, Frederick Carder Steuben glass, classic firearms and antique toys. In 1983, seven years after the Museum was founded, we received a transformational gift from Clara S. Peck: 27 paintings, 2 books, 1 sculpture and generous funds that would become a source for the acquisition of artworks.

As we have grown over time, our focus has changed from an exploration of the Art of the American West to a celebration of the Art of the American Experience. The acquisition funds have enabled us to purchase artworks that align with changing ideas and allow us to tell new stories, feature makers who have been overlooked or marginalized and add women, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals to the story we tell about American Art and the American experience.