The Museum’s founders, Charles Phelps Taft (1843–1929) and Anna Sinton Taft (1850–1931), amassed their small but outstanding collection of European old master paintings between the years 1902 and 1928. The seventeenth-century Dutch pictures include choice works by Gerard ter Borch, Frans Hals, Meindert Hobbema, Pieter de Hooch, Aert van der Neer, Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jan Steen, among others. As this list suggests, the Tafts leaned heavily toward portraiture, landscape, and genre subjects. Among the stand-outs are Rembrandt’s dynamic early Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair (1633), Frans Hals’ captivating Portrait of Michiel de Wael (1630s), an exceptionally broad and naturalistic Hobbema landscape, a large luminous panoramic landscape by van der Neer, a musical group in an interior by Pieter de Hooch, and a fine still-life by Balthasar van der Ast. There are no Flemish works in the collection, nor are there sculptures, drawings, or prints.
Lynne Ambrosini, Deputy Director and the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Chief Curator (November 2019)