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Duveen Brothers, Inc.

est. 1868 - closed 1964


Brief chronology of Duveen Brothers, Inc:

1868 - Joel Duveen (later Sir Joseph Joel Duveen), born in 1843 in Meppel, Holland, emigrates to Hull, England, and establishes Duveen Brothers with his younger brother Henry. It becomes a successful antiques business, first specializing in selling Delft Ware and later branching out to include tapestries, furniture, Chinese porcelains, and paintings. Joseph Duveen, Joel's son, is born 14 October 1869.

1876 - Joel Duveen-Barnett (closely associated with dealer Han Teunissen, Sr. of the Hague), partnership dissolved.

1879 - Joel Duveen moves to London and opens gallery on Oxford Street.

1886 - New York branch opens, run by Henry Duveen, who was later joined by his nephew, Joseph.

1897 -Temporary Paris shop is closed and reopened as a grander store on the Place Vendôme.

1908 - Joel Duveen dies, leaving $7 million to children. Henry Duveen, with 35% of company's stock, becomes "de-forma" head of company. Joseph Duveen, with 15% of the company's stock, becomes "de-facto" head of company.

1910 - The Duveen smuggling case: J.P. Morgan gets Henry Duveen off by paying the government $1.4 million.

1918 - Death of Henry Duveen. Joseph buys his 35% of stock and takes full command of company. Other family members, mainly Joseph's brothers, also are part of the company: Ernest Duveen in Paris; Louis Duveen in London; Joseph and Benjamin in New York. Joseph Duveen is knighted; uses title "Sir Joseph Duveen" between 1919-1926.

1926 - Joseph Duveen becomes a baronet; uses title "Sir Joseph Duveen, Bart." between 1926-1933.

1933 - Joseph Duveen becomes a baron; uses title "Lord Duveen of Millbank" until his death.

1939 - Joseph Duveen dies 25 May 1939; Armand Lowengard (Joseph's brother-in-law) and Edward Fowles become joint owners of the company.

1944 - Armand Lowengard dies; Edward Fowles becomes company president. Paris branch is evacuated due to the Nazi occupation of France during World War II; London branch is closed soon after.

1964 - Edward Fowles sells New York location and all remaining stock, excluding the business records, to Norton Simon. Fowles then served as consultant to the Norton Simon Foundation. The Duveen library, which included the company records held in New York, was purchased from Simon by the Clark Art Institute in 1965/1966.

1968 - Fowles donates his papers and the Duveen Brothers business records to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they remain until they are transferred in 1996 to the library of The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. They have now been microfilmed and are available to researchers.


Behrman, S.N. Duveen. New York, 1952.
Duveen, James Henry. The Rise of the House of Duveen. New York, 1957.
Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers. London, 1976.
Simpson, Colin. The Partnership; the Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen. London, 1987.

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