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Kingdom of the Netherlands establishes endowment fund in support of Center for Netherlandish Art at MFA Boston
Signing ceremony with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery. Seated (left to right): Cameran Mason, Chief Development Officer, MFA Boston; Joost Taverne, Netherlands Cultural Attaché to the US. Standing (left to right): Christopher Atkins, Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director, Center for Netherlandish Art, MFA Boston; Jill Avery, President, Board of Trustees, MFA Boston; Matthew Weatherbie; Susan Weatherbie; Eijk van Otterloo; Rose-Marie van Otterloo; Hendrick (Henne) Schuwer, Netherlands Ambassador to the US; Mark Rutte, Netherlands Prime Minister; Dolph Hogewoning, Netherlands Consul General in New York. Photo: Michael Blanchard.

BOSTON, MASS.- The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, announced today that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has shared its intent to establish a permanent endowment fund in support of the MFA’s Center for Netherlandish Art (CNA). The fund, named The Kingdom of the Netherlands Fund for Dutch Scholars, will allow Dutch academics, students and institutions to participate in CNA programs and research initiatives, sustaining international connections between scholars in both countries. The CNA, which will launch in 2020 in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the MFA’s founding, is the first resource of its kind in the U.S. Aligned with the MFA’s mission to bring art and people together, the CNA is dedicated to sharing Dutch and Flemish works with wide audiences, stimulating multidisciplinary research and object-based learning, and nurturing future generations of scholars and curators in the field. The Founders of the Center for Netherlandish Art at the MFA are Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie.

“We are delighted to support the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and its Center for Netherlandish Art in preserving and presenting some of the most important 17th-century Dutch artworks,” said Joost Taverne, Cultural Attaché of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States. “The Kingdom of the Netherlands Fund for Dutch Scholars will give future generations of Dutch experts the opportunity to study and research the extraordinary collection of Netherlandish art at the museum and to utilize the resources and expertise that the Center for Netherlandish Art will bring together. The fund will strengthen the cultural collaboration between the Netherlands and the United States for years to come and will ensure the continuing appreciation and studying of these important art works.”

The gift of the endowment fund was announced during a recent visit to the Museum by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as part of a trade mission in which 87 Dutch companies participated. The delegation’s visit to the MFA indicated the significance of the CNA in building cultural connections between the U.S. and the Netherlands. MFA leadership recognized the historic gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and both entities participated in a signing ceremony in the Museum’s Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery. Following a welcome by Jill Avery, President of the MFA’s Board of Trustees, a letter of intent was presented by Joost Taverne, Cultural Attaché, and signed by Cameran Mason, the Museum’s Chief Development Officer, on behalf of the MFA. Dr. Christopher Atkins, the incoming Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director of the Center for Netherlandish Art, also attended the ceremony.

“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to ensure a robust program of international exchange and scholarship at the CNA,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “This gift, together with the royal decoration presented to the four Founders of the CNA, demonstrates our shared vision of collaboration with partners in the Netherlands.”

The visit of the Prime Minister and the trade delegation follows the inaugural CNA lecture in April 2019, attended by Henne Schuwer, the Dutch Ambassador to the U.S. During the event, Schuwer presented Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie—the four CNA Founders—with a royal decoration, making them Knights in the Order of Orange-Nassau in honor of their contributions to Dutch-American relations.

Center for Netherlandish Art
In 2017, two families presented a transformative gift to the MFA. Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo joined Susan and Matthew Weatherbie to donate 114 Dutch and Flemish paintings, the research library of renowned Dutch art historian Egbert Havercamp-Begemann, and initial endowment funds for the CNA, the first resource of its kind in the U.S.

Launching in 2020 in conjunction with the celebration of the MFA’s 150th anniversary, the CNA will be a leading center for scholarship on Dutch and Flemish art. Its programs—including public lectures, exhibitions, courses, publications and residency fellowships—will attract collectors, curators, researchers, conservators and students across the globe, encouraging them to learn and collaborate together. This work will advance the mission of the CNA: to share Dutch and Flemish art widely with audiences in Boston and around the world, to stimulate multi-disciplinary research and object-based learning, and to expand the public appreciation for Netherlandish Art.

The establishment of the CNA provides a historic opportunity to create an outward-facing, interdisciplinary research center within a major art museum. This unprecedented resource will provide rich opportunities for new partnerships to share knowledge and create new audiences for Dutch and Flemish art, fostering relationships between the U.S. and the Netherlands for generations to come.

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