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Finding aid for the Duveen Brothers stock photographs and records, 1829-1965
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Duveen Brothers stock photographs and records
    Date (inclusive): 1829-1965
    Number: 2007.D.1
    Creator/Collector: Duveen Brothers
    Physical Description: 755.0 linear feet (738 boxes, 10 flatfiles, 2 rolls)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The archive documents the Duveen Brothers' cataloguing, researching, exhibition work, and publishing of works of art and collections. It traces the firm's dealings in porcelain, tapestries, objets d'art, and old masters paintings, in particular of the Italian Renaissance. The archive comprises brochures, photographs, collectors' files, scrapbooks, correspondence and authentication records from art experts, notably Bernard Berenson. It also includes the papers of Italian Renaissance art historian R. (Robert) Langton Douglas.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The Duveen Brothers firm was an influential art dealer from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century with offices in London, Paris, and New York. Under the guidance of Joseph Duveen (1869-1939), and assisted by art experts, most notably Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), Duveen Brothers played a prominent role in the transfer of works of art from Europe to the United States. The firm helped form important private collections that became the nuclei of museums, such as the National Gallery of Art, the Huntington Art Collections, and the Frick Collection.
    Joel Joseph (1843-1908) and Henry Duveen (1854-1919), the founders of Duveen Brothers were originally from Meppel, Holland, where their Jewish grand-father from Paris had emigrated to in the early 19th century. In 1866, Joel Joseph moved to England, first to the city of Hull and then to London, where he began importing porcelains and other objets d'art from Holland. In 1877, Henry moved to Boston and then New York, where he would become associated with the affluent American collectors J. P. Morgan, Benjamin Altman, Collis P. Huntington, P. A. B. Widener and George J. Gould. Joseph Duveen, the eldest son of Joseph Joel and the principal personage behind the firm's peak from 1907 to 1939 joined the business under his father's mentorship in the London branch in 1887. In 1905-1908, Sir (later Lord) Joseph Duveen made the decisive purchases of the Rodolfe Kann collection, the Maurice Kann collection in Paris, and the Hainauer collection in Berlin.
    The firm's operation involved a network of runners, scholars, librarians, writers, photographers, and access to the vast financial resources of its clientele of international bankers. The firm achieved major sales to collectors, such as Samuel Kress, Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick, Joseph E. Widener, Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. Huntington and Philip Lehman.
    In 1939, after Lord Duveen's death, Armand Lowengard, Duveen's nephew, and Edward Fowles assumed leadership of the firms in Paris, New York and London. When Lowengard passed away in 1943, Fowles took over the presidency of Duveen Brothers until 1964, when he sold the firm to Norton Simon with most of its remaining stock.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, except for Series III. Scrapbooks. Contact the repository for information regarding access of Series III.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Duveen Brothers stock photographs and records, 1829-1965, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.D.1.

    Acquisition Information

    On deposit at the Getty Research Institute from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006-2016.

    Processing History

    Clare Denk registered the archive. Under the supervision of Jocelyn Gibbs and then Andra Darlington, Arsineh Zargarian unpacked and rehoused the bulk of the archive from 2007 to 2009. Teresa Morales completed the processing of Series VII and its container list in 2009 and 2010. Under the supervision of Karen Meyer-Roux, intern Sarah Mooney processed series VI, Jan Bender assisted with the processing of Series VII, and Emmabeth Nanol completed the processing of the archive, prepared the finding aid and the archive for digitization in 2011.

    Related Archival Materials

    Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981 (Accession no. 960015). Connect to finding aid: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa960015 

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The archive documents the Duveen Brothers' exhibition, cataloging, researching, and publishing of works of art and collections. It traces the firm's dealings in porcelain, tapestries, objets d'art, and Old Master paintings, in particular of the Italian Renaissance. The archive comprises photographs, collectors' files, brochures, scrapbooks, correspondence and authentication records from art experts, notably Bernard Berenson.
    The archive was not part of the business records that was deeded in 1968 by Edward Fowles to the Metropolitan Museum and in turn donated to the Getty Research Institute in 1996 (Accession No. 960015). Instead, it formed part of the Duveen Brothers' library that was purchased in 1966 by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. After the Clark Institute integrated from the Duveen Brothers's library its published books, sales catalogues and periodicals into the institute's general collections, there remained a significant archive, comprised of photograph albums, drafts and published catalogs, brochures, clippings arranged in scrapbooks, photographs of the firm's stock, architectural plans, and art expertise documentation. These materials were placed on deposit in 2006 at the Getty Research Institute for processing, cataloging, conservation and microfilming.
    The archive is primarily visual in nature, as its largest series consists of the photographic reference files maintained by Duveen Brothers personnel. Also included are albums of photographs that record the most important works of art in the firm's stock and albums of photographs that illustrate collections of the firm's clients, including Jules Bache, Anna Dodge Dillman, Andrew Mellon and Samuel Kress.
    While the bulk of the firm's correspondence forms part of the related archive at the Getty Research Institute, the Duveen Brothers records, the archive comprises correspondence with Bernard Berenson, R. (Robert) Langton Douglas, Georg Swarzenski, Wilhelm von Bode, W. (Wilhelm Rheinhold Otto) Valentiner and Max Friedländer. Art expertive includes Bernard Berenson's X books, and certificates of authenticity in the form of typed statements and signed photographs. Clippings and scrapbooks document advertising campaigns orchestrated by the firm and court trials occasioned by attribution disputes and claims of tax frauds.
    Personal aspects of Lord Joseph Duveen's career and benefactions are documented in scrapbooks, drawings, and photographs. The daily activities of the firm appear in callers' books that include notes on customers' visits and on works seen. Plans, drawings, and fabric swatches document the firm's role as decorator for its clients's estates.
    Also included are the papers of Italian Renaissance art historian R. (Robert) Langton Douglas (8.0 linear feet (9 boxes)), whose widow later married the firm's last president, Edward Fowles.


    Arranged in fourteen series: Series I. Albums, 1871-1956, undated; Series II. Exhibition catalogs, pamphlets and posters, 1907-1964, undated; Series III. Scrapbooks and clippings, 1869-1962, undated; Series IV. Brochures, 1910-1962, undated; Series V. Collector's files, 1877-1956, undated; Series VI. Articles, 1829-1963, undated; Series VII. Reference photographs, 1898-circa 1960, undated; Series VIII. Business records, 1910-circa 1960, undated; Series IX. Robert Langton Douglas papers, 1916-1945, undated; Series X. Lord Joseph Duveen, 1919-1933, undated; Series XI. Duveen Brothers' showrooms, undated; Series XII. Designs and architectural plans, undated; Series XIII. Library index cards, bibliographies and reference lists, undated; Series XIV. Miscellaneous, 1939.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Bache, Jules S. (Jules Semon), 1861-1944
    Benson, Robert, 1850-1929
    Duveen, Joseph Duveen, Baron, 1869-1939
    Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976
    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927
    Kress, Samuel H. (Samuel Henry), 1863-1955
    Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1855-1937
    Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943
    Ringling, John, 1866-1936

    Subjects - Topics

    Art dealers--France
    Art dealers--Great Britain
    Art dealers--United States
    Art--Private collections
    Collectors and collecting
    Decorative arts--Collectors and collecting
    Painting, European--Collectors and collecting