For Eunice and Herbert Shatzman, donating art is more than just a tax write-off.
The Shatzmans, both 83, have called Chapel Hill home since 1989. They have been donating art to the University’s Ackland Art Museum for nearly as long.
“Flowers from Earth and Sand,” the Ackland exhibit that closed this December, featured a large number of ceramic pieces from the Shatzmans’ collection.
But the couple’s passion began long before arriving in Chapel Hill. While living in Los Angeles decades ago, the couple became intrigued by collections of ceramic art.
“We were in San Francisco and were going through one of the stores that specialized in fine art,” said Eunice Shatzman. “It happened to be Chinese ceramics, and we just started with an interest in that.”
They also struck up a friendship with Sherman Lee, curator for the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, before his death in 2008. It was Lee who introduced the Shatzmans to the Ackland in 1996.
“He would visit, look at the pieces, talk about them, and educate us as to what sort of things were valuable,” Eunice Shatzman said.
The Shatzmans moved to New York to explore new museums and art dealers on the east coast. There, they shifted from strictly Chinese ceramics to include things from the art nouveau period.
When they came to Chapel Hill in the late 1980s, the Shatzmans had to adjust to the small town.