Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Duveen Brothers records
Date (inclusive): 1876-1981 (bulk 1909-1964)
394.0 linear feet
(584 boxes, 18 flat file folders)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
Notable art dealers from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The records provide a detailed view of the Duveen
Brothers business activities in London, Paris, and New York. Although the archive extends from 1876 to 1981, the bulk of the
material dates from Joseph Duveen's tenure as president of the firm, 1909-1939, and the period 1939-1964 when Edward Fowles
directed the firm (with Armand Lowengard until 1943). The mass of documents, such as cables and letters, invoices, and ledger
and stock books, give a day-by-day account of art dealing, business strategy, and the individuals involved. Included are some
records from the Kleinberger Galleries, 1906-1971, and 6 linear feet of Edward Fowles's papers.
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Duveen Brothers, notable art dealers in London, Paris, and New York from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth
century, brought to America high quality old master paintings and decorative arts from the great private collections in Europe.
Under the guidance of Joseph Duveen (1869-1939) and assisted by art experts, most notably Bernard Berenson, the Duveen Brothers
monopolized the American art market for five decades. Duveen Brothers helped to form the art collections of many extremely
wealthy Americans. A number of these collections became the nuclei of U.S. museums such as the Frick Collection, the Huntington
Art Collections and the National Gallery of Art.
The Duveen Brothers business began when Joseph Joel Duveen (1843-1908) and his younger brother, Henry J. Duveen (1855-1918),
left their home in Meppel, Holland for Hull, England. They specialized in selling delftware from their native Holland and
later branched out to include Chinese porcelain, tapestries, furniture, and old master paintings. The Duveens opened a London
office in 1879; a New York office followed in 1886. In 1897 the firm closed a temporary shop located on the rue de la Paix
in Paris and reopened a grander store on the Place Vendôme, later referred to as the "Little Palace." By this time Duveen
Brothers was purchasing important paintings, including acquisitions from the Mulgrave Castle sale of 1890 and the Murrieta
sale of 1892.
Shortly after Henry J. Duveen arrived in New York to head the office there, his brother Joseph Joel sent his son Joseph (later
Sir Joseph of Millbank, also known as Joe or just Duveen) to assist his uncle Henry. By the 1880s Henry had developed a clientele
of American millionaires whose wealth in those years was without precedent. Joseph became more active in the management of
the New York house, took over its operations in 1907, and served as president of the firm between 1909 and 1939. One of the
first changes Joseph Duveen made was to move the New York house to a more highly visible location on Fifth Avenue. He transformed
the Duveen show rooms, displaying art with dramatic lighting in lavish surroundings. He made grand gestures to persuade prospective
clients, as, for example, when he had an elaborate plaster model of Senator Clark's Fifth Avenue mansion constructed (at the
cost of $20,000) to entice the Senator to hire Duveen Brothers to furnish it.
While in New York Joseph made a number of bold purchases on behalf of Duveen Brothers. In 1906 he acquired three large collections:
the Rodolfe Kann collection, the Maurice Kann collection, and the Hainauer collection. In 1927 he bought the Robert H. Benson
collection of 114 Italian paintings in England and three years later he purchased the Dreyfus collection of Italian paintings
and sculpture in Paris. Joseph sold selections from the Dreyfus collection to Andrew Mellon and Samuel H. Kress; these items
formed the core of the National Gallery collections in Washington, D.C. As late as 1939, the year of his death, Joseph was
still selling paintings and sculpture from these purchases.
As president of Duveen Brothers, Joseph developed with a number of clients extremely close ties that went beyond influencing
their art-buying habits. He arranged travel plans for his important clients, designed their table settings, and stored their
preferred cigars in the Duveen Brothers' vaults. Joseph Duveen was actively involved in numerous art organizations and served
as a trustee for the National Gallery, London; the Wallace Collection; and the Imperial Gallery of Art, London. He was a member
of the Council of the British School at Rome and of the National Art Collections Fund. Joseph founded the British Artists
Exhibitions Organization for the encouragement of lesser known British artists. He provided for additions to and extensions
of London museums, such as the Tate Gallery (a new building of several galleries for modern foreign art, works by Sargent,
and modern foreign sculpture), the National Gallery (a new building), the National Portrait Gallery (a new building of several
galleries), London University, and the British Museum (a new building for the housing of the Elgin marbles and Nereid statues).
In 1930 he wrote
Thirty Years of British Art.
The Duveen Brothers' business began to decline after Joseph's death in 1939, at which time Armand Lowengard (Joseph Duveen's
nephew) and Edward Fowles became joint owners of the firm. When Lowengard died in 1943, Edward Fowles assumed the presidency
of Duveen Brothers. The Nazi occupation of France forced Duveen Brothers to evacuate Paris. The London office closed shortly
thereafter. After the war Duveen Brothers had a number of notable clients, such as Henry Ford II and Robert Lehman, but the
business never regained its former vibrancy. In 1964 Edward Fowles sold Duveen Brothers to Norton Simon, including the East
79th Street mansion and all remaining stock (excluding the business records). Edward Fowles served as a consultant to the
Norton Simon Foundation and, in 1968, donated his papers and the Duveen Brothers business records to the Metropolitan Museum
of Art where they were housed until 1996. In 1969 the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute purchased the Duveen library
of books, periodicals, exhibition catalogues, and sales catalogues, along with a portion of the Duveen Brothers business records
that was interfiled with the library and remains at the Clark. In 1996 the Metropolitan Museum of Art donated the Duveen archive
to the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute.
A microfilm copy (422 reels) of the archive is open for use by qualified researchers. The original papers are restricted because
they are brittle and fragile. Additional microfilm copies of the archive have been deposited at the Thomas J. Watson Library
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Witt Library of the Courtauld Institute in London, and at the Institute
national d'histoire de l'art in Paris.
Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 960015.
Acquired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996.
The Photography Studio of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in particular, Arvia Higgins and Nora Kennedy) cleaned, conserved,
re-housed, and indexed the Duveen negatives, 1993-ca. 1996, prior to shipping the archive to the Getty.
At the Getty Research Library, Lynn Tapia and J. Gibbs performed initial unpacking and re-housing, and made a preliminary
box list, May - June 1996.
The following people processed the collection between 1996 and 2002: Julie Rosenberg, Vladimira Stefura, Teresa Morales, Jenny
Vasquez, Trevor Bond, Courtney Booker, Ted Walbye, Jan Bender and J. Gibbs.
Teresa Morales arranged most of the archive and created a draft finding aid, between August 1997-July 1998.
The archive was microfilmed by the Microfilm Unit of the Southern Regional Library Facility, UCLA, between April 1999 and
Karen Meyer-Roux edited and revised the finding aid in July and August 2014.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Duveen Brothers archive,1876-1981, contains the business records for Duveen Brothers offices in New York, London, and
Paris in ca. 394 linear feet (585 boxes, 18 flat file folders, ca. 2,000 negatives). It includes ledgers, sales books, stock
reports, inventories, invoices, correspondence (letters and cables), manuscripts, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs,
X rays of paintings, acetate and glass plate negatives.
Also included in the archive are two related groups of records. The Edward Fowles papers, 1917-1981 (6 linear ft.), primarily
date from his period in the Paris office of Duveen, but include some personal papers, particularly related to his memoir about
Duveen Brothers. Kleinberger & Co., Inc. records, 1906-1971 (9 linear ft.), comprise correspondence with clients and other
dealers, and include a small number of personal papers of Harry G. Sperling, president of Kleinberger Galleries.
The bulk of the Duveen records dates from Joseph Duveen's tenure as president of the firm, between 1909-1939, with relatively
full coverage through Edward Fowles's tenure until 1964. The collection extensively documents the Duveen Brothers firm. The
mass of detailed records, such as cables, letters, and invoices, provide a day-by-day account of art dealing, business strategy,
and the individuals involved. The correspondence in particular highlights the relationships between employees of the Duveen
Brothers, (e.g., Henry, Edward, and Joseph Duveen, Edward Fowles, Armand Lowengard, and Bertram Boggis) and clients, museum
directors, curators, art historians, art dealers, restorers, scouts, and other consultants. The correspondence between the
Duveen branches is voluminous and revealing of the strategies employed in buying and selling art. Much of the correspondence
is in carbon copies with smaller amounts of original materials.
Extensive correspondence, as well as stock books, sales books, and invoices trace the movement of paintings, sculpture, and
European and Asian decorative arts bought and sold through the firm. Correspondence with and about owners and collectors concerns
offers, sales, and purchases, predominately of Italian and English old masters, for such clients as J.S. Bache, H.C. Frick,
J.P. Morgan, H.E. Huntington, S.H. Kress, E.T. Stotesbury, and A. Mellon, to name just a few. Twelve boxes (6 lin.ft.) hold
correspondence between Bernard Berenson and Duveen Brothers staff. Many letters document the correspondence with other scholars,
such as Wilhelm von Bode, Max Friedländer, L. Venturi, Leo Planiscig, George Swarzenski, W.R. Valentiner, upon whom Duveen
Brothers relied for expert opinions. Also included are records of lawsuits (Hahn vs. Duveen; Hamilton vs. Duveen). Nearly
2,000 negatives, ca. 100 X rays of paintings, and ca. 1,000 photographs (some annotated by Berenson and other art experts)
document stock handled by the firm.
Not included in the archive, but retained by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are the bound X book (1910-1927), that documents
the paintings authenticated by Bernard Berenson and sold by Duveen, and 10 client summary books (1894-1959) that record specific
sales to clients. Also at the Metropolitan Museum are some 20 binders of photographs printed from the negatives in the archive.
The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute holds approximately 240 cubic feet of Duveen records, along with the Duveen library
of books and catalogues, many of them annotated.
Between 1999 and 2002 the Duveen archive was microfilmed by the SRLF Preservation Microfilming Service at UCLA for the Research
Library at the Getty Research Institute. Also microfilmed were the X book and client summary notebooks owned by the Metropolitan
Museum of Art. Microfilm reel numbers are noted in the Container list, below.
The collection is organized in 5 series:
Series I. Business records, 1876-1964;
Series II. Papers and correspondence, 1901-1981;
Series III. Photographs, indices, negatives, and X rays;
Series IV. Double oversize materials from Series II;
Series V. Duveen records at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Subjects - Names
Bache, Jules S. (Jules Semon), 1861-1944
Bellini, Giovanni, d. 1516
Benson, Robert, 1850-1929
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959
Botticelli, Sandro, 1444 or 5-1510
Constable, John, 1776-1837
David, Gérard, ca. 1460-1523
Dreyfus, Gustave, 1837-1914
Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919
Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976
Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828
Gulbenkian, Calouste Sarkis
Hals, Frans, 1584-1666
Holbein, Hans, 1497-1543
Hoppner, James, 1758-1810
Houdon, Jean Antoine, 1741-1828
Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927
Kahn, Otto Hermann, 1867-1934
Kann, Rodolphe, d.1905
Kress, Samuel H. (Samuel Henry), 1863-1955
Lotto, Lorenzo, 1480?-1556?
Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1855-1937
Memling, Hans, 1430?-1494
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943
Raeburn, Henry, Sir, 1756-1823
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669
Reynolds, Joshua, Sir, 1723-1792
Romney, George, 1734-1802
Simon, Norton, 1907-1993
Stotesbury, Edward Townsend, 1849-1938
Titian, ca. 1488-1576
Van Dyck, Anthony, Sir, 1599-1641
Velázquez, Diego, 1599-1660
Vermeer, Johannes, 1632-1675
Widener, Joseph E. (Joseph Early), 1872-1943
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
F. Kleinberger Galleries (New York, N.Y.)
Wildenstein and Company (New York, N.Y.)
Subjects - Topics
Art dealers--Great Britain
Art dealers--United States
Collectors and collecting
Decorative arts--Collectors and collecting
Drawing, European--Collectors and collecting
Painting, European--Collectors and collecting
Porcelain--Collectors and collecting
Rugs--Collectors and collecting
Sculpture, European--Collectors and collecting
Tapestry--Collectors and collecting
Genres and Forms of Material
Ledgers (account books)
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959
Bode, Wilhelm von, 1845-1929
Brockwell, Maurice Walter, 1869-1958
Douglas, R. Langton (Robert Langton), 1864-1951
Duveen, Henry J., 1854-1919
Duveen, Joseph Duveen, Baron, 1869-1939
F. Kleinberger Galleries (New York, N.Y.)
Friedländer, Max J., 1867-1958
Planiscig, Leo, 1887-1952
Swarzenski, Georg, 1876-1957
Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd.
Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, 1880-1958