SALEM, MA -- 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.

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 68 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.


VOEijk 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.


Great works of art transcend categorization, but to provide context for the vast flowering of Dutch and Flemish art in the Golden Age, the exhibition is organized to reflect the principal themes that artists explored in this period.

Dawn of the Golden Age

AVERCAMPLured by religious freedom and a better economic climate, many artists fled northward from cities such as Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges to escape persecution and the war with Spain in the late 1500s and early 1600s. They introduced sophisticated new painting styles and together with Dutch artists created a climate of artistic excellence in the Dutch Republic.

Artists emphasized the horizon line and changing weather conditions of the Dutch countryside, often populating scenes with engaging details of daily life. From the 1560s to the 1620s, Northern Europe endured an extremely cold period known as the "Little Ice Age." Inspired by the winter landscapes of Flemish artists who had fled to Amsterdam,Hendrick Avercamp elevated the subject to a new genre in works such as his Winter Landscape Near a Village.

Faith and Dutch Pride

Faith and Dutch Pride

Faith and Dutch Pride

WESTERKERKDutch cities swelled with the influx of immigrants from the south taking refuge in religiously tolerant, albeit strongly Protestant, urban environments. Protestant churches in the Netherlands were largely devoid of religious imagery. Instead, artists painted images of biblical figures and contemporary religious structures such as Jan van der Heyden's View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam for display in people's homes as expressions of their piety and affluence.

Prosperous Dutch Burghers

AELTJESuccessful merchants, powerful politicians, influential scholars and other prominent individuals often commissioned portraits of themselves, their spouses, and sometimes their children. Rembrandt's portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, the unquestionable jewel of the Van Otterloo collection, is one of the finest portraits by Rembrandt in private hands. Although the artist painted it when he was only twenty-six, Rembrandt sensitively rendered the effects of age and tenderly captured his subject's soft cheeks, bright eyes, and crisp linen cap.

The Art of Daily Life

slThe daily lives of the rich and poor became a new subject for painting during the Dutch Golden Age. These sometimes humorous genre scenes also contain allegorical symbolism. The importance of frugality and modesty, and the fleeting nature of life, were especially popular themes in a society grappling with how to express its new-found prosperity while maintaining a pious and humble  lives. In this scene by Nicolaes Maes, a woman deftly picks the pockets of a sleeping man while coyly inviting the viewer's silence. A beautiful and perhaps cautionary still life of glasses, jars, pipes and tobacco alludes to the sources for the man's drowsy vulnerability. Maes studied with Rembrandt and is regarded as one of his most important pupils.

Allegories of Myth and Morality

CUYPIntrigued by new translations of ancient Greek myths, many Dutch artists incorporated classical imagery in their work. In this monumental canvas by Aelbert Cuyp, Orpheus plays the violin for an enchanted menagerie of animals from Europe and around the globe. Cuyp's ambitious paintings not only highlight his skills as a landscape and animal painter, but also the era's lively exchange of artistic, literary and scientific ideas. Cuyp, who never left Europe and would not have seen many of these animals firsthand, drew upon prints and CUPBOARDstuffed specimens in aristocratic "cabinets of curiosities" to depict them. Allegorical imagery was not limited to paintings in 17th-century Dutch households. The owner of this stunning four-door cupboard could display it and avoid the criticism of ostentation because the cupboard served as a daily reminder of his religious obligations-a veritable "sermon in wood."

Land and Water

VAN DE VELDEThe Dutch Republic dramatically expanded its influence and financial prospects through voyages around the globe, becoming the dominant international maritime power in the 17th-century. Accordingly, Dutch artists were the first to paint the sea in its own right - a reflection of the importance of water in the nation's psyche. Maritime views are often characterized by precise depictions of ships and atmospheric rendering of the weather. The fertile landscape was similarly a favorite new subject. Cloud-filled skies billowing over a narrow stretch of earth or sea emphasize the flat horizons for which the Netherlands is known.

 Still-Life: A Table-Top World

DE HEEMThe carefully balanced compositions in Dutch still lifes are often visual odes to prosperity and pleasure with elements of moralistic symbolism. As the nation emerged as a powerful mercantile force, Dutch artists filled their canvases with the staples and luxuries of the trades they dominated - Dutch cheese, French wine, Baltic grain, South American tobacco, and Asian porcelain and pepper.  

When painting seemingly informal assemblages, Dutch artists played with balance and depth to enhance the drama and intimacy of the scene. In Jan Davidsz. de Heem's Glass Vase with Flowers on a Stone Ledge, the artist used light in innovative ways, spotlighting the intensely colored flowers against a deep black background. The vase contains flowers that bloomed at different times of the year, somehow enhancing their beauty by combining faithful representation with impossibility.




RSVP to Whitney Riepe by February 15th at 978-745-9500 x3228 or


Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Peabody Essex Museum in conjunction with the Mauritshuis, The Hague, and in association with Yale University Press. 2011; 404 pages; $65 Hardcover; $40 Paperback. Available at:  


Captioned, high-resolution publicity images are available for download here:


Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection exhibition and publication made possible in part by a generous grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Circle of Friends in honor of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo, and the Netherland-America Foundation in honor of Frederik J. Duparc.  Additional support provided by the East India Marine Associates (EIMA) of the Peabody Essex Museum. Supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

MEDIA PARTNERS: The Boston Globe    90.9 WBUR  


  • Still Life with Glasses and Tobacco, 1633; Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680); Oil on panel; 20 x 29 ¾ inches (50.8 x 75.6 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.
  • Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo in their Massachusetts home; Image Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Walter Silver.
  • 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.
  • View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam, c. 1667- 70; Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712); Oil on panel; 21 x 25 ¼ inches (53.5 x 64.2 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection.
  • Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, 1632; Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669); Oil on panel; 29 x 22 inches (73.7 x 55.8 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • Sleeping Man Having His Pockets Picked, c. 1655; Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693); Oil on panel; 14 x 12 inches (35.5 x 30.3 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • Orpheus Charming the Animals, c. 1640; Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691); Oil on canvas; 44 ½ x 65 ¾ inches (113 x 167 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection.
  • Cupboard (Beeldenkast), 1620-40; Amsterdam, Northern Netherlands; Oak and ebony; 81 ¼ x 65 ¾ x 31 ¾ inches (206.5 x 167 x 80.6 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum; Photograph by Walter Silver.
  • Fishing Boats by the Shore in a Calm, c. 1660-65; Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707); Oil on canvas; 11 ?x 14 ¾ inches (30.1 x 37.4 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection.
  • Glass Vase with Flowers on a Stone Ledge, c. 1655-60; Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-1683/84); Oil on panel; 18 ? x 14 inches (47.3 x 35.7 cm); The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.


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.

HOURS: Open Tuesday?Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am?5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866?745?1876 or visit our website at


PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

‹ Back To Press Releases