34 paintings by 17th-century Dutch artist Gerrit Dou, Rembrandt's first pupil, were brought together for the exhibition. Paintings from all periods of the artist's career were presented, including scenes of daily life, portraits, still lifes, and religious images. The show was the first international exhibition dedicated to Dou's work.
The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in association with the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague. Ronni Baer, the Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of European Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, were the curators. The exhibition was made possible by Shell Oil Company Foundation on behalf of the employees of Shell Oil Company. The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.