From the museum website, 30 January 2012
Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London showcases 48 masterpieces from the collection known as the Iveagh Bequest. These magnificent paintings reside at Kenwood House, a neoclassical villa in London, and they make their U.S. debut at the MFAH.
Donated by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh (1847–1927) and heir to the world’s most successful brewery, the collection was shaped by the tastes of the Belle Epoque—Europe’s equivalent to America’s Gilded Age—when the earl shared the cultural stage and art market with other industry titans such as the Rothschilds, J. Pierpont Morgan, and Henry Clay Frick. Acquired mainly from 1887 to 1891, the earl’s purchases reveal a taste for the portraiture, landscape, and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish works typically found in English aristocratic collections. In addition to the masterworks from the Iveagh Bequest, the exhibition includes several works acquired specifically for Kenwood.
The MFAH presentation is the first stop on a limited, three-city U.S. tour that provides a rare opportunity for visitors to view superb paintings that have never before traveled outside the United Kingdom. The highly acclaimed works on view represent the greatest artists of their periods, from Rembrandt van Rijn, Thomas Gainsborough, and Anthony van Dyck to Frans Hals, Joshua Reynolds, and J. M. W. Turner.