Joseph Duveen (1885-1951), born in Hull, was the eldest of thirteen children. The family had arrived in Hull from Holland to establish a business importing Delft and Chinese ceramics in the late 19th century.
Joseph moved the business into the risky but lucrative Art market. In his own words “Europe has a great deal of art and America has a great deal of money”. European landowners suffered from American competition for agricultural products and increased taxation on their holdings. It was time to sell off the assets and Duveen knew how to find the buyers.
Duveen played a huge part in putting together America’s famous art collections that are now in museums like the Frick Collection in New York, the Frank P. Wood collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Huntington Library.
Here, Rob Bell explores the political and economic context that Duveen was able to read so well and, the controversies that shaped his reputation.
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