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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston presents Dutch and Flemish works from the van Otterloo Collection
Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 1613–1675), Sleeping Dog, 1650. Oil on panel. Rose Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Photo: Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

BOSTON, MA.- Approximately 40 works from the acclaimed collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo are on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through June 24. Included in Complementary Collections, Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and the MFA are paintings by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Gerrit Dou, Aelbert Cuyp, Ambrosius Bosschaert, Frans Hals, Hendrick Avercamp, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Salomon van Ruysdael, and Jan Lievens. The pictures, which have been on tour in Holland and the United States, have been integrated into the MFA’s holdings of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings to deepen the viewer’s understanding of the work of certain artists and, in some cases, to showcase painters not yet represented in the MFA’s collection. These are displayed in three MFA galleries on the second floor: Northern Europe, 1600–1700 (Dutch/Flemish), Europe 1600-1800 (Robert and Ruth Remis Gallery), and Northern Europe, 1400–1600 (Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery).

“It is a pleasure to welcome back to the MFA’s Dutch and Flemish galleries these superb paintings from the Van Otterloo collection,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo have been longtime friends and supporters of the Museum and we greatly appreciate their generosity in sharing this group of magnificent works with our visitors.”

Among the paintings from the Van Otterloo collection on view are Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, aged 62 (1632) by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, which is being shown with the MFA’s Rembrandt paintings The Artist in his Studio (about 1628) and two oval portraits from 1634—works which together tell the story of the artist’s early career. Other complementary paintings include the Van Otterloos’ Wooded River Landscape (about 1655–60) by Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael, which is being displayed with the MFA’s Rough Sea (about 1670) by the artist. Similarly, Gerrit Dou’s Sleeping Dog (1650) and Self-Portrait (about 1665) from the Van Otterloos, together with the MFA’s Old Woman Cutting Bread (about 1655), show many of the varied aspects of that important artist’s work. Also showcased are several major pictures by artists not represented in the MFA’s collection, among them Orpheus Charming the Animals (about 1640) by Aelbert Cuyp, Ships in a Gale on the IJ before the City of Amsterdam (1666) by Ludolf Bakhuizen, and Portrait of the De Kempenaer Family (The Margaretha Portrait) (about 1653) by Jan Baptist Weenix. Other exquisite paintings that supplement the MFA’s holdings are Winter Landscape near a Village (about 1610–15) by Hendrick Avercamp, Still Life with Roses in a Glass Vase (about 1619) by Ambrosius Bosschaert, Still Life with Glasses and Tobacco (1633) by Willem Claesz. Heda, and View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam (about 1667–70) by Jan van der Heyden.

“The quality and condition of these pictures is what makes this the finest collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings in private hands. Each of the major artists of the Dutch Golden Age is illustrated by a representative and beautiful example of his or her work. The Van Otterloo collection, assembled over the past two decades or so, is a perfect complement to the MFA’s holdings, amassed through gifts and purchases over the past century and a half,” said Ronni Baer, William and Ann Elfers Senior Curator of Paintings, Art of Europe, at the MFA.

The Van Otterloos are longtime benefactors of the MFA. In addition, Eijk van Otterloo is a former Trustee and a current member of the Art of Europe Visiting Committee. Rose-Marie van Otterloo is a Trustee, chairs the MFA’s Collections Committee, and is a member of the Conservation Visiting Committee and Art of Europe Visiting Committee. She is also an MFA Senior Associate. In 2002, the couple lent 18 paintings to the Museum’s exhibition The Poetry of Everyday Life: Dutch Painting in Boston. The Van Otterloos have given more than 275 works of art to the MFA, primarily European prints and drawings from the 16th–20th centuries, including five works by Rembrandt. They also created an endowment for the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Conservator of Paintings.

Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo began to collect 17th-century Dutch paintings in the 1990s, later expanding their holdings to include Flemish works. Over time and with a discerning eye, they developed what is now recognized as one of the most important collections in the world, advised at times by experts in the field, including MFA curators, conservators, framers, and photographers. It comprises all the main genres of 17th-century Dutch painting—landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, architectural views, and scenes of everyday life, as well as portraits and tronies (head studies). These remarkable paintings, which reflect a naturalistic style and readily familiar subject matter, were originally commissioned to be hung in private homes. Works from the Van Otterloo collection have been seen in exhibitions at museums around the world.

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