You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Masterworks await as an MFA gallery reopens

A North Shore couple will soon give their fabulous collection to one museum, local or national. A quiet joust among cultural giants is underway.

The walls have been covered in silk, the ceiling cove painted albacore, and old skylights replaced with triple-glazed glass. But when the Museum of Fine Arts reopens its large Dutch and Flemish gallery on Wednesday, the buzz won’t just be about the paintings hanging on the walls — alluring as they are — but on a bigger trove of masterworks that could possibly one day join them.

That’s because 17 of the paintings in this and a recently reopened gallery nearby belong to Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo, the longtime Marblehead residents who have amassed arguably the world’s greatest private collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art. And the van Otterloos say they are close to deciding which museum will be the permanent home of a collection worth hundreds of millions of dollars, featuring works by Rembrandt and Frans Hals, among others.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week