Boston museum gets major gift of Dutch, Flemish masterpieces

BOSTON — The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Wednesday announced a pledged gift of more than 100 17th century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces that will give it one of the nation's foremost collections of Dutch Golden Age art.

The donation of 113 works by 76 artists from Boston-area collectors Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie includes a research library and funding to establish a Center for Netherlandish Art at the museum, the first of its kind in the U.S.

It is the largest gift of European paintings in the museum's history and will nearly double in size its collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings.

"We are extremely grateful to the van Otterloos and Weatherbies for their deep commitment and for their support of the mission of the museum in such a generous way," Director Matthew Teitelbaum said.

The collection includes one of the finest privately owned Rembrandt portraits. The 1632 portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, a cousin of Rembrandt's wife-to-be, is in nearly perfect condition.

Works by Gerrit Dou, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Steen and Jan Brueghel the Elder also are part of the collection. It is comprised of portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, flower pictures, cityscapes and more.

"This gift of beautifully preserved paintings will fill major gaps in the collection and allow us to present the full range of artistic production in the Netherlands in the 17th century in varied and meaningful ways," said Ronni Baer, the museum's senior curator of paintings.

Some of the works already are part of a new installation dedicated to Dutch and Flemish art that runs through Jan. 15.

"Eijk and I couldn't be happier that our collection will find a home at the MFA, where it can be displayed, loaned and shared with the widest possible audiences," Rose-Marie van Otterloo said.

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