Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo
Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo are considered two of the most important collectors of 17th-century Dutch Old Masters painting in the United States. Although the couple started out collecting horse carriages, they were turned on to Dutch painting by Peter Sutton, a curator of European paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Eijk, an investment-fund manager at Chemonics, and Rose-Marie began buying small works, and gradually they turned their eye toward bigger and more expensive works. Their collection now includes major pieces by artists such as Rembrandt and Jacob van Ruisdael, and they are known for waiting years for some pieces to fall into their hands. In particular, the van Otterloos collect landscape paintings. The couple often thinks hard before buying a work. In one case, they were considering a large Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot that was being deaccessioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; after realizing a few millimeters had been cut off of the painting, however, they decided not to buy it.
In 2017 the MFA became overnight a premier destination for Dutch art when, along with fellow Boston-area art collectors Susan and Matthew Weatherbie, the van Otterloos pledged a joint donation of 113 works by 76 artists. In addition to a research library, the gift also included an endowment to establish the nation’s first-ever research center focused on Netherlandish Art. The pledged donation includes the Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh (1632), widely considered the finest Rembrandt portrait in private hands, as well as important works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Jan Brueghel the Elder. “The gift has an enormous impact on us,” Ronni Baer, the MFA’s senior curator for painting, once told Artnet News. “There are 48 artists, a huge number that are not represented in our collection already. It both broadens our collection and deepens it, in some cases.”