The Buck Collection
Gerald E. Buck (1930 – 2013) was a successful developer in Orange County and avid patron of contemporary California Art. The collection comprises over 3,200 works across mediums and styles. While Buck lent work to various museums for special exhibitions, the collection was primarily enjoyed by Buck and his family in his home and private gallery. Most of the works were out of the public eye for decades and the breadth of the collection was known only to a few.
Following Buck’s death in August 2013, Christina Buck, his daughter and trustee, executed a gift agreement with UCI in November 2014, donating his collection and associated archives to the university. UCI took possession of The Buck Collection in 2016, and the legal title transferring the artworks to UCI was completed in 2017. The Buck Collection gift was officially announced in November 2017. Christina Buck considered UCI the perfect match for fulfilling her father’s wish to make the collection widely accessible in an academic setting for enjoyment and study.
The collection comprises works by contemporary art luminaries including Carlos Almaraz, Ruth Asawa, Bruce Conner, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Roger Kuntz, Helen Lundeberg, David Park, Helen Pashgian, Agnes Lawrence Pelton, Wayne Thiebaud, Patssi Valdez, DeWain Valentine, and others. The works represent California schools of abstraction, assemblage, minimalism, and other genres.
A noteworthy aspect of the collection is the presence of many artists who taught or studied at UC Irvine. A sampling from that roster includes Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Ed Bereal, Tony DeLap, Robert Irwin, Gilbert Lujan, John Mason, Alexis Smith, and James Turrell. Their legacies contribute to IMCA’s position as a leading center for investigating UCI’s historic and ongoing influence on artists and art making.
Featuring over 50 paintings and sculptures, First Glimpse: Introducing The Buck Collection at UCI Institute and Museum of California Art was presented at the University Art Gallery and Contemporary Art Center Gallery at UCI in fall 2018 to popular and critical acclaim. It was the first opportunity for the public to view a selection of works from the formerly privately held collection of Gerald Buck. Beginning in spring 2021, selections from the collection will be incorporated into exhibitions at IMCA’s interim museum at 18881 Von Karman Avenue.