Joseph Duveen, 1st Baron Duveen of Millbank
Duveen, Joseph, 1st Baron Duveen of Millbank (dyŏvēnˈ, dō–) [key], 1869–1939, English art dealer, b. Hull. Beginning his career (1886) in his father's antiques firm, Duveen Brothers, he soon took over the business and expanded it to mammoth dimensions, presiding over galleries in London, Paris, and New York and specializing in the acquisition and sale of Old Master pictures. He contributed paintings to many museums, notably London's National Gallery, British Museum, and Tate Gallery. After 1906 he employed Bernard Berenson to authenticate his great acquisitions in Renaissance art. A connoisseur with a famously fine eye for quality and a salesman with an amazing gift of persuasion, Duveen built an empire out of the business of art dealing. He was the most influential agent in the forming of the art collections of such culture-seeking American tycoons as Henry Clay Frick, William Randolph Hearst, Henry E. Huntington, Samuel H. Kress, Andrew Mellon, John D. Rockefeller, and Joseph E. Widener. Many of these collections are now in museums. Duveen was created baron in 1933.
See biographies by S. N. Behrman (1952, rev. ed. 1972) and M. Secrest (2004); C. Simpson, Artful Partners (1986).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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