The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has received a donation of 113 Dutch and Flemish Golden Age works by 76 artists from collectors Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie. It is the largest gift of European paintings to the institution in its 140-year history.
One of the most notable works in the gift is Rembrandt’s Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh (1632). Others include Peter Paul Rubens’s Coronation of the Virgin (1632–33) and pieces by Gerrit Dou, Frans Hals, Albert Cuyp, and Jan Steen. Forty-two works from the collection will go on view at the museum tonight in a special installation running through January 15, 2018.
Additionally, the collectors are giving a research library to the MFA and funds to create a Center for Netherlandish Art. Set to open in 2020, the center will be the first of its kind in the U.S., and the collectors told the Boston Globe that the MFA’s willingness to establish it played a major role in their decision. (The Yale University Art Gallery had also been in the running for their collections.) In an interview with the Globe, Eijk van Otterloo said, “The real struggle was whether you want the collection to be accessible to a lot of people, or whether you are really aiming for academic interest.”
The donation came with the stipulation that 85 percent of the collection must always be on view, whether at the MFA or at another museum as a loan, according to the Globe. Yale, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and other New England museums will be preferred borrowers, according to Rose-Marie van Otterloo in that story.
According to Ronni Baer, senior curator of paintings in the MFA’s European art department, the donation fills gaps in the museum’s collection and allows the institution to “present the full range of artistic production in the Netherlands in the 17th century in varied and meaningful ways.”