Art patrons and art lovers know the collection as “the best collection of California art that no one has ever seen.”
For more than twenty years, Orange County developer Gerald Buck engaged in an unexpected pastime: building an unparalleled collection of artworks in a wide variety of genres and media.
Initially collecting for pleasure, eventually Mr. Buck realized that he had in fact built something unique: more than thirty-two hundred works, most of which were bought, boxed, and stored away. Many of the works in the collection have not been seen since they were purchased and stored, though Mr. Buck lent works to exhibitions across Southern California. As an autodidact regarding artwork, Mr. Buck focused his attention on his own personal study of the works, the artists, the genres, and their cultural significance. Among his chief desires was that the works be studied and appreciated for their many values.
In order to fulfill that commitment, at his death in 2013 Gerald Buck passed the collection to UCI. We are indeed delighted that we have received this great opportunity. UCI will construct a fitting home for the Buck Collection (and others, centrally The Irvine Museum Collection, gifted to UCI in 2016). Over the next several years, UCI will build the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, the focus for the exhibition of, and research on, California Art. But we are eager to introduce this great collection to the public. Toward this goal, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts will host the first public exhibition of selected works from the Buck Collection. An accompanying exhibition catalogue with essays by the exhibition curators, Cécile Whiting, Kevin Appel, and Stephen Barker, will be available late in the fall.
The exhibition, sponsored by the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, will be a unique opportunity to see some of the finest art produced in California.
Executive Director, UCI IMCA