WSJ‘s pick for art collectors: Duveen

March 28, 2006
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jacket imageEarlier this month, as part of its coverage of the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF Maastricht), the European edition of the Wall Street Journal featured their top picks for "readings on art for collectors." Duveen: A Life in Art by Meryle Secrest made the list.
Regarded as the most influential—or, in some circles, notorious—dealer of the twentieth century, Joseph Duveen (1869-1939) established himself selling the European masterpieces of Titian, Botticelli, Giotto, and Vermeer to newly and lavishly wealthy American businessmen—J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Mellon, to name just a few. It is no exaggeration to say that Duveen was the driving force behind every important private art collection in the United States. The key to Duveen’s success was his simple observation that while Europe had the art, America had the money; Duveen made his fortune by buying art from declining European aristocrats and selling them to the "squillionaires" in the United States.

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