Peabody Essex Museum Unveils Dutch & Flemish Masterpieces

One of the world’s best private collections of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, including masterworks by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Gerrit Dou, Jan Steen and others, will be unveiled this winter at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection presents paintings, furniture and decorative arts exceptional for their quality, superb condition and impeccable provenance. As exemplars of the Dutch Golden Age, the works are distinguished not only for the glowing quality of light achieved by the most talented artists of the time, but also for their place in an unsurpassed period of artistic,cultural, scientific, and commercial accomplishment in the Netherlands.

Winter Landscape near a Village, c. 1610-15; Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634); Oil on panel; 21 x 37 ¼ inches (53.3 x 94.5 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Van Otterloo collection will be on view for the first time in its entirety when the exhibition opens at PEM on February 26, 2011. “We are honored to present the Van Otterloo’s exquisite private collection to our visitors for the first time. Golden highlights PEM’s continued commitment to presenting outstanding works of art and culture and we are pleased for the opportunity to create an important new publication on 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art. We deeply appreciate the Van Otterloo’s generosity for sharing their collection and look forward to the exhibition’s national tour,” said Dan L. Monroe, PEM Executive Director and CEO.

The Peabody Essex Museum organized Golden in conjunction with the Mauritshuis, The Hague. Former Director of the Mauritshuis, Dr. Frederic J. Duparc is guest curator and Karina Corrigan, PEM’s H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art, is coordinating curator for the exhibition. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will be subsequent venues for the show’s national tour.

The 67 exquisite paintings in the Van Otterloo collection – portraits, still lifes, landscapes, history paintings, maritime scenes, city profiles and genre scenes – were created in the 1600s as the Dutch Republic increased in maritime strength and dominated international trade. Elsewhere in Europe, the nobility and the Catholic Church were the principal patrons of the arts, but in the Netherlands, merchants supported artists in unprecedented numbers. Corrigan notes that “the creative revival and widespread patronage of the arts in the Netherlands was by no means limited to paintings. Master craftsmen created works in silver, wood and mother-of-pearl that were equally prized by their collectors.” The exhibition also features twenty-three examples of furniture and decorative arts from the Van Otterloo collection. All of these works graced domestic spaces in the Netherlands as people began to invest enthusiastically in fine art and welcome it into their homes.

Eijk van Otterloo was born in the Netherlands and Rose-Marie in Belgium. They met and married in the United States, where they developed deep ties with New England. The couple enjoys living with their collection, but they are also dedicated to sharing it with others, generously lending to institutions around the globe. The Van Otterloos have said, “With Golden, we are delighted to have this opportunity to share the entire collection with the American public. Within these works of art lie a world of beauty, meaning and even humor. We hope that visitors to the exhibition receive as much pleasure, inspiration and delight from them as we do.”

Over the last two decades, the Van Otterloos have assembled a Dutch and Flemish collection reflecting their cultural heritage and rivaling any of its kind in the world. With expert guidance from Dr. Simon Levie, former director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Dr. Frederik J. Duparc, former director of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Van Otterloos established clear goals and criteria, making the choices – sometimes to acquire, sometimes to decline or sell- that hone a connoisseur’s discerning eye.

Lower image: Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo in their Massachusetts home; Image Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Walter Silver.

The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collection, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of special exhibitions and a hands‐on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200‐year‐old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

Peabody Essex Museum East India Square 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970-3783 USA Phone: 978-745-9500, 866-745-1876

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