The following list of museums with interesting collections of 17th-century Dutch art was drawn from pp. 224-228 in The Dutch Painters: 100 Seventeenth Century Masters by Christopher Wright. Some additions to the text and updates are being made. These collections have been divided into three categories.
Those collections with one of more paintings by Vermeer are signaled by a thumbnail images of their Vermeer painting(s) and the artist's monogram. Detailed information on these museums and their websites can be reviewed by clicking here.
Those museums which maintain internet websites have been linked.
The following collections of Dutch pictures are more or less comprehensive. The occasional gaps, like the lack of Vermeers in the Hermitage, only serve to emphasize how complete the collections are. A careful study of any one of these collections will enable the visitor to gain a general idea of most aspects of Dutch 17th-century painting.
The largest collection of Dutch pictures in existence. It is completely representative of every aspect of the national art, built up over a century and a half of enlightened purchases and occasional important bequests. The only failing is the possession of medium rather than high-quality works of the odd painter, especially Hobbema and Cuyp.
BERLIN-DAHLEM, Staatliche Gemäldegalerie
A collection largely built up by purchase by the celebrated director Wilhelm von Bode. The representation of Rembrandt is unforgettable. The collection is comprehensive in most areas except Mannerism and seascape.
DRESDEN, Staatliche Gemäldegalerie
Largely built up in the middle years of the eighteenth century, the collection still reflects the taste of those years. The Rembrandts of the middle period are important and the representation of genre painting is unequalled. The collection also contains two Vermeers and Ruisdael's Jewish Cemetery.
THE HAGUE, Mauritshuis
The smallest representative collection of Dutch painting, where each painter is represented by one outstanding example. Especially' important are Vermeer's View of Delft, Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp. The collection is also houses important for portraits of the House of Orange.
One of the largest collections of Dutch pictures, and, like Dresden, largely built up in the eighteenth century. It has perhaps the best collection of Rembrandts in existence, and is at least equal to Dresden for genre.
LONDON, National Gallery
A collection mostly acquired by bequest in the nineteenth century and therefore particularly strong in the British predilection for Ruisdael, Cuyp and Hobbema. It is rich in seascape pictures and genre and has an important group of Rembrandts. The chief weakness is in the field of flower painting, still life in genera, and the mannerists. The collection has two late Vermeer's A Lady Standing at a Virginal and A Lady Seated at a Virginal.
MUNlCH, Alte Pinakothek
Most of the pictures in the collection come from the celebrated electoral picture gallery at Dusseldorf, including Rembrandt's Passion Series and Self-Portrait of 1629, Portrait of Willem Croes by Frans Hals as well as the extremely poetic Flea Catcher by Gerrit ter Borch. The collection is especially rich in Dutch landscape (Landscape with Church and Village by Van Ruisdael) and genre.
The Alte Pinakothek houses one of the world's finest collects which includes more than 800 paintings spanning from the 14th to the 18th century. Such masterpieces as Albrecht Dürer's Self-Portrait, Rogier van der Weyden's Columbia Altarpiece and the first Raphael to be brought to Germany, the Canigani Holy Family The scope and quality of the Flemish artists Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens is unique collection. The Alte Pinakothek also boasts masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Murillo Velásquez and Chardin.
PARIS, Musée du Louvre
A relatively small collection, but well balanced, with good pictures by Rembrandt from every period of his career and with a good example of each of the other main painters. Like all French collections it is weak in seascapes.
ROTTERDAM, Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum
A well-balanced and comprehensive collection whose only weakness is the lack of supreme masterpieces. The collection is important for its adequate and sometimes brilliant representation of most of the minor masters. The deposit by the Trustees of the Vorm Foundation of their important collection in the museum has strengthened the representation of several areas, in particular Rembrandt.
VIENNA, Kunsthistorisches Museum
One of the best-balanced of the great eighteenth-century collections, which acquired Vermeer's The Art of Painting in 1946. The collection is especially rich in landscape and genre.
Section 2 - Museums with Distinguished Dutch Art Collections
This section includes those collections which are distinguished by representing some aspect of Dutch painting or one particular painter in a way which makes them unique or very important. However, there are gaps in each one which prevent the collections from being described as comprehensive.
AMSTERDAM, Historisch Museum
A recently redesigned museum showing the history of Amsterdam. The most important surviving collection of group portraits in existence is exhibited here, along with numerous topographical pictures relating to Amsterdam in the 17th century.
BRUSSELS, Musée Royals de Beaux-Arts
Important pictures by Hals and Hobbema. Many minor landscape and genre painters are represented.
BRUNSWICK, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum
A collection formed in the late 17th and 18th centuries with a good representation of Mannerists and Caravaggesque painters. There is an unforgettable late Rembrandt Group Portrait and an important picture by Vermeer, Girl with a Glass of Wine.
BUDAPEST, Szépmiivészeti Muzeum
Especially good representation of landscape, seascape and genre, with examples of all the important and most of the minor painters.
CAMBRIDGE, Fitzwilliam Museum
A collection strong in landscape painting of high quality, including Hobbema, Ruisdael and Allart van Everdingen. A unique representation of flower painting from the bequest in recent years of the Broughton Collection; most flower painters are included.
COPENHAGEN, Statens Museum for Kunst
A large collection including numerous examples of landscape and genre.
DETROIT, Institute of Arts
The other version of Ruisdael's Jewish Cemetery is in the collection, which is well-balanced for landscapes and owns several small but high-quality pictures by Rembrandt.
DUBLIN, National Gallery of Ireland
A large collection with a good representation of genre. Some landscapes, including an outstanding one by Rembrandt. Vermeer's late Woman Writing a Letter with her Maid is outstanding.
FLORENCE, Uffizi and Pitti Galleries
Over the years pictures have been exchanged between the two galleries. There is a unique representation of the Italianate landscapists, especially Poelenburgh, and Breenbergh, an important picture by Honthorst and a memorable group of Rembrandt self-portraits.
GLASGOW, Art Gallery
A large collection mostly acquired by bequest in the nineteenth century. It concentrates on genre and landscape, with important pictures by Ruisdael and Cuyp. The other version of Rembrandt's Side of Beef and his Alexander are here.
HAARLEM, Frans Hals Museum
Arguably the most moving assembly of Dutch pictures in existence. Frans Hals dominates because of the group portraits. There is a large collection of pictures by Cornelis van Haarlem and Verspronck, and a good example of most members of the Haarlem school of painters.
A large collection with particular emphasis on landscape. Especially important are the groups of paintings by Ruisdael and Aert van der Neer.
KARLSRUHE, Staatliche Kunsthalle
A large collection of pictures, mostly by minor painters, with all types of subject matter represented.
KASSEL, Hessisches Landesmuseum
A celebrated collection of pictures by Rembrandt brought together in the eighteenth century, together with good examples of most of the minor masters.
LEIPZIG, Museum de Bildenden Kunste
A representative collection of Dutch landscapists, especially the Haarlem school. There is a large group by van Goyen and an early Rembrandt Self-Portrait.
LILLE, Palais del Beaux-Arts
Almost as large but not as representative as the Musée du Louvre. It is especially strong in landscape and genre, together with a few good examples of the Mannerists and Caravaggesques.
LONDON, The Royal Collection (Windsor Castle)
The Royal Collection in Windsor Castle contains one of the world’s finest groups of Dutch 17th-century paintings. Among the most enduringly popular images in Western Art, these pictures have for centuries been admired for their harmonious compositions, close observation of detail, subtle light effects and meticulous finish. Outstanding examples of Dutch paintings embrace genre scenes, portraits, still lifes, history paintings, landscapes and seascapes. They include works by the great masters of the period, among them Rembrandt’s jewel-like Christ and Saint Mary Magdalene at the Tomb and his Portrait in a Flat Cap of 1642, luminous landscapes by Aelbert Cuyp, and Johannes Vermeer’s enigmatic Music Lesson. Other works such as Nicholas Maes’s The Listening Housewife, Jan Steen’s A Woman at her Toilet and Gerrit Dou’s A Girl Chopping Onions also deserve attention.
LONDON, Dulwich Picture Gallery
A collection formed at the end of the eighteenth century with special emphasis on the Italianate landscapists. There are important groups of pictures by Cuyp and Wouwermans, and the three Rembrandts, Girl at a Window of 1645, Jacob III de Gheyn of 1632 and A Young Man perhaps the Artist's son Titus of 1633. Two Italianate landscapes by Adam Pynacker, Bridge in an Italian Landscape and Landscape with Sportsmen and Game, are of high quality.One of the finest examples of the Dutch fijnschilder style is Gerrit Dou's A Lady Playing a Clavichord, c. 1655. Adriaen van der Werff's The Judgment of Paris should be noted as well.
The Dulwich College Picture Gallery in London houses a magnificent collection of old masters, including works by Poussin, Claude, Rubens, Murillo, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Watteau, Gainsborough and many others, was originally assembled for the King of Poland in the 1790s. When Poland was partitioned, an alternative home was found for the paintings in the "clean air of Dulwich". The Gallery was designed by Sir John Soane - with a new extension recently completed by Rick Mather - and the founders lie, to this day, in their Mausoleum at the centre of the Gallery. The collection is also one of the oldest in Great Britain, substantially put together in the years 1790 to 1795. The paintings are housed in the first purpose-built art gallery in England, designed by Sir John Soane in 1811. The critically-acclaimed loan exhibitions, the outstanding permanent collection, the award winning education events, and its setting in the beautiful eighteenth century village of Dulwich make the Gallery an essential destination for art lovers
LONDON, Greenwich, National Maritime Museum
The largest collection of seascape paintings in existence. Almost every known seascape painter is represented, including thirty pictures by or attributed to Willem van de Velde the Younger.
LONDON, Wallace Collection
One of the best surviving examples of mid-nineteenth-century taste in Dutch pictures. It is especially strong in Italianate landscapists and Cuyp, and there are also important pictures by Ruisdael and Hobbema, a dazzling collection of genre pictures of the highest quality, nine pictures by Rembrandt, and Hals's Laughing Cavalier.
NEW YORK, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Four pictures by Vermeer of Delft give this collection an enormous and justified prestige. There is also an important array of pictures by Rembrandt, including the Aristotle, and some representation of the minor masters.
OXFORD, Ashmolean Museum
The best collection in existence of still life paintings with a good example by each painter. There are also good pictures by unusual painters, those by Wtewael and Vrel being outstanding.
PHILADELPHIA, John G. Johnson Collection
One of the largest collections of Dutch pictures in America. Almost all the minor landscape and genre painters are represented.
PRAGUE, Narodne Galerie
A medium-sized collection of quality, with especially important pictures by Ruisdael and de Gelder. Landscape and genre are most strongly represented.
SCHWERIN, Stadisches Museum
An important collection, with emphasis on the Italianate landscapists and genre, and an outstanding picture by Carel Fabritius.
A collection of good quality, dominated by Rembrandt's great Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis.
TOLEDO (Ohio), Museum of Art
A carefully-chosen and well-balanced collection, with emphasis on landscape and portraiture; good pictures by Hobbema and Rembrandt.
UTRECHT, Centraal Museum
This collection concentrates exclusively on the Utrecht school, which is well-represented by both Mannerists and Caravaggesques. There is an outstanding group by Ter Brugghen.
WARSAW, Muzeum Narodowe
A large collection with especial emphasis on the minor painters; both mannerists and Caravaggesques are included.
WASHINGTON, National Gallery of Art
Justly famous for its representation of Rembrandt and Vermeer including Woman Holding a Balance, A Lady Writing, Girl with a Red Hat and Girl with a Flute. There are excellent pictures by Hobbema, Saenredam and Cuyp.
Most museums with a collection of Old Master paintings have some Dutch pictures. The following list is a selection of the more important small collections and those places where the odd outstanding work a can be found.
AACHEN, Suermondt Museum
Many of the minor masters are represented in this collection.
ANTWERP, Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts
There are good portraits by both Rembrandt and Hals and an uneven collection of other Dutch painters.
ASCOTT (Buckinghamshire), National Trust
Cuyp's View of Dordrecht and an important landscape by Hobbema are outstanding.
BARNSLEY, Cannon Hall
This small collection is especially strong in the Italianate landscapists; there are also interesting pictures by Cesar van Everdingen and Frans van Mieris.
A small collection with an emphasis on the Italianate landscapists and also a work by Ter Brugghen.
BIRMINGHAM, Barber Institute of Fine Arts
A small group of well-chosen pictures, including an outstanding early portrait by Hals.
BIRMINGHAM, City Museum and Art Gallery
There are good pictures by Bramer, van Goyen, Ochtervelt, and Willem van de Velde the Younger.
BOSTON, Museum of Fine Arts
A small collection with exceptional portraits by Rembrandt.
BOSTON, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Vermeer's Concert (stolen in 1990 and not still not recovered) and Rembrandt's Christ Stilling the Waters on the Sea of Galilee are of the highest quality in this collection.
BRISTOL, City Art Gallery
A small collection with good pictures by Pieter Claesz. and Jan van der Heyden.
CHICAGO, Art Institute
A small group of pictures by Rembrandt, the Girl at a Window being outstanding.
CHELTENHAM, Art Gallery
A late-nineteenth-century collection with an emphasis on genre.
CINCINNATI, Museum of Art
Important works by Van Ruisdael, Aert van der Neer, Backhuisen, Oosterwijck, and Gerrit ter Borch's exquisite Music Party (c. 1675).
CINCINNATI, Taft Museum
The group of excellent portraits by Frans Hals is testimony of the esteem in which Hals was held in late-nineteenth-century America.
COLOGNE, Wallraf Richaru Museum
A collection with many different aspects of Dutch painting represented, all of high quality; the coverage of Rembrandt is outstanding.
DIJON, Musée Magnin
An extensive collection of pictures by very minor masters. There is a superb portrait by Van der Helst.
DORDRECHT, Dordrechts Museum
Several examples of most of the best local painters, including Cuyp, Maes and Hoogstraten -some of them of the very highest quality.
DOUAI, Musée de la Chartreuse
Interesting as a collection, with good representation of the Mannerist painters Goltzius and Cornelis van Haarlem.
EDINBURGH, National Gallery of Scotland
A small collection, but of the choicest quality--one of the few museums where it is possible to see Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer together. The Sutherland loan of outstanding pictures by Rembrandt and Steen augments the collection.
EPINAL, Musée Departemental des Vosges
The Rembrandt Portrait of a Woman as the Magdalene deserves to be better known; it is one of his most touching late pictures.
The late Rembrandt Portrait of a Falconer is now very well known, having been much reproduced in recent years.
GRONINGER, Groninger Museum voor Stadt en Lande
A small collection but with outstanding pictures by Carel Fabritius and Sweerts.
THE HAGUE, Gemeentemuseum
As the municipal collection, the museum has collected examples of the local painters active in the 17th century. There is an important van Goyen View of the Hague.
An interesting small collection with a beautiful landscapes by Rembrandt.
HARTFORD (Connecticut), Wadsworth Atheneum
An important collection of pictures by the minor masters.
HULL, Ferens Art Gallery
A small collection of good pictures by the minor masters. The Frans Hals Portrait of a Woman ranks as one of his best pictures.
LA FERE (Aisne), Musée Jeanne d'Aboville
An interesting collection of pictures by very obscure painters. There is a particularly good Salomon van Ruisdael and a Vanitas by Matthias Withoos.
LIVERPOOL, Walker Art Gallery
A small collection of pictures of high quality, including works by Rembrandt, Carel Fabritius, and Salomon van Ruisdael.
LONDON, Kenwood, Iveagh Bequest
Three important pictures, one each by Rembrandt (the famous Self Portrait), Hals and Vermeer's magnificent Guitar Player.
LONDON,Victoria and Albert Museum
Many minor masters are represented in the collection, but there are good pictures by Rembrandt, Ter Borch and Koninck.
LONDON, Wellington Museum
The group of pictures by Steen is justly famous and there are excellent pictures by some of the Italianate landscapists, Breenbergh and Poelenburgh in particular.
LYONS, Musée del Beaux-Arts
A small collection with one of the earliest known Rembrandt's, the Stoning of Stephen of 1624.
This little-known collection contains an exceptionally beautiful picture by Dirck Hals, A Woman Tearing up a Letter. Cornelis van Haarlem and Baburen are also represented.
MALIBU (California), J. Paul Getty Museum
A small but representative collection of pictures by the minor masters, especially subject pictures (for an example, a work by Vrel). There is also an important late Rembrandt.
There are a few Dutch pictures of quality in the collection, especially by Metsu and Rembrandt.
MANCHESTER, City Art Gallery, Collection of the Assheton Bennett Trustees
A collection of small pictures by many different minor masters. There are especially charming works by Ochtervelt and van Goyen.
A small collection with a good early Rembrandt portrait.
MONTPELLIER, Musée Fabre
The chief emphasis of the collection is on landscape and genre.
NEW YORK, The Frick Collection
The magnificent three pictures by Vermeer The Officer and Laughing Girl, Woman Interrupted in her Music, and Mistress and Maid and Rembrandt's Polish Rider make this handful of pictures one of the greatest in terms of quality.
NOTTINGHAM, Castle Museum
A small group of pictures, chiefly landscapes and genre. A picture by Eglon van der Neer.
A small collection of pictures of good quality including Van der Heyden's View in Delft.
PARIS, Musée du Petit Palais
An extensive well-balanced collection.
ETWORTH HOUSE (Sussex), National Trust
Good pictures by van Goyen, Ruisdael and Hobbema.
POLESDEN LACEY (Surrey), National Trust
A small collection of high quality; outstanding pictures by Ter Borch, Ruisdael and Cesar van Everdingen.
ST LOUIS, City Art Museum
A small but well-balanced collection with good pictures by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and De Hooch.
A small collection with Rembrandt's early St Paul in Prison.
TURIN, Galleria Sabauda
The best collection of Dutch painters in Italy, the works by Rembrandt and Saenredam being noteworthy.
WADDESDON MANOR (Bucks.), National Trust
A dazzling assembly of pictures by Cuyp in one unforgettable room.
YORK, City Art Gallery
An off-beat collection with interesting pictures by Wtewael, Baburen and Berchem.