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Seattle Art Museum presents Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough. The Treasures of Kenwood House

Seattle Art Museum presents Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London, an exhibition featuring about 50 masterpieces from this magnificent painting collection on view February 14 through May 19, 2013.

View of Dordrecht, ca. 1655, Aelbert Cuyp, Dutch, 1620-1691, oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 53 1/4 in., Kenwood House, English Heritage; Iveagh Bequest (88028825), Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts.

This collection, known as the Iveagh Bequest, resides at Kenwood House, a neoclassical villa in London that Scottish architect Robert Adam remodeled in the eighteenth century. Set in beautiful landscaped parkland in the midst of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House is one of the most magnificent visitor attractions in London. This elegant villa, houses a superb collection of paintings that includes masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn, Johan Vermeer, Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as the Suffolk collection of rare Jacobean portraits.

Donated to England by Edward Cecil Guinness, (1847-1927), the first Earl of Iveagh and heir to the Guinness Brewery, the collection was shaped by the tastes of the Belle Époque–Europe’s equivalent to America’s Gilded Age–when Lord Iveagh shared the cultural stage and art market with other industry titans such as the Rothschilds, J. Pierpont Morgan, and Henry Clay Frick. Lord Iveagh’s purchases, made mainly between 1887 and 1891, reveal a taste for the portraiture, landscape, and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish works that could typically be found in English aristocratic collections.

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