The Department of Old Masters was established (as an independent department) in 1988. The Museum's Old Masters Collection, which includes about 150 paintings and sculptures and some 50 works on loan, is presented in six galleries: four galleries in the Museum's main building, and two galleries dedicated to decorative art at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion.
The Museum’s Old Masters Collection specializes in 16th to 18th century Italian art and 16th to 17th century Flemish and Dutch art, with paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Honthorst, Teniers, Van Goyen, Canaletto, Rigaud and Reynolds. Works by 19th century Jewish artists are also included, among them, Maurycy Gottlieb and Jozef Israëls.
The permanent collections are accompanied by temporary exhibitions, including: "Van Dyck and his Age", "Isaac Levitan", "Jozef Israëls", "Isidor Kaufmann", "Jan Lievens: The Sacrifice of Isaac", "Had Gadya: Passover Haggadahs", "Marvels of the East: Indian Paintings of the Mughal Period from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection", "Irises and Daffodils, Dragonflies and Butterflies: The Glassware of Emile Gallé", "Meissen Porcelain: The Danek and Jadzia Gertner Collection", "4,000 Years of Portraiture", "From Neo-Classicism to Romanticism", "Goya: Los Caprichos", "Rembrandt: 100 Etchings", "Old Testament, Old Masters: The Bible in 16th to 19th Century Art", "Femme Fatale,"and others.
Recently, the Danek and Jadzia Gertner Collection of decorative art has enriched the Department's collections. Works of Meissen porcelain and glassware by Emile Gallé are currently on display at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion in the Danek and Jadzia Gertner Galleries.
Helena Rubinsteins' Miniature Rooms is also part of the Department.