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8/4/2011 Houston— One of the world's finest private collections of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, including masterworks by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Gerrit Dou, Jan Steen and others, will conclude a national tour at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this fall. Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection opens at the MFAH November 13, 2011, presenting over 60 paintings that are exceptional for their quality, condition and historical interest. As exemplars of the Dutch Golden Age, the works are distinguished not only for the glowing quality of light achieved by many of the most talented artists of the time, but also for their role in an unsurpassed period of artistic, cultural, scientific, and commercial accomplishment in the Netherlands.

―No other nation matched the Netherlands in the 17th century for quality and quantity of painting," said Edgar Peters Bowron, the MFAH Audrey Jones Beck curator of European art. ―The Van Otterloo collection contains extraordinary works by the leading artists of the age in every genre, from architectural interiors, floral arrangements, still life's and works based on biblical and classical texts, to land- and seascapes. The level of craftsmanship and specialization is outstanding, and these paintings are rightfully renowned for their careful observation, meticulous rendering, and virtuoso."

―This captivating and beautiful exhibition will be a treat for Houston, complementing the Dutch and Flemish paintings in the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Collection that is permanently on view here," said Gwendolyn H. Goffe, interim director of the MFAH. ―Of special note for local audiences will be the Rembrandt portrait of an older woman from the Van Otterloo collection, which provides a fascinating comparison with a portrait of a young woman, painted by the artist a year earlier, which is in the MFAH collection."

The tour marks the first time that the Van Otterloo collection has been on view in its entirety. The exhibition opened at the Peabody Essex Museum, where it was organized, and then traveled to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will be the final venue, with the collection on view from November 13, 2011-February 12, 2012.

The exquisite paintings in the Van Otterloo collection—portraits, still lifes, landscapes, history paintings, maritime scenes, city views 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. 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, ―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.