Duveen, Joseph, 1st Baron Duveen of Millbank


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Duveen, Joseph, 1st Baron Duveen of Millbank

(dyo͝ovēn`, do͞o–), 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 BerensonBerenson, Bernard
, 1865–1959, American art critic and connoisseur of Italian art, b. Lithuania, grad. Harvard, 1887. An expert and an arbiter of taste, he selected for art collectors innumerable paintings, many of which are now in museums.
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 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.

Bibliography

See biographies by S. N. Behrman (1952, rev. ed. 1972) and M. Secrest (2004); C. Simpson, Artful Partners (1986).