DUVEEN , family of British art dealers. The famous firm of Duveen Brothers was founded by Sir joseph joel duveen (1843–1908), who was born in the Netherlands, the son of a Jewish blacksmith, and migrated to Hull, where he opened a curiosity shop dealing in china. Duveen developed a deep knowledge of Nanking china, which he imported successfully, and, in 1879, moved to London. There he opened an impressive gallery. With the help of his brother Henry in New York, Duveen then specialized in selling paintings and other art works to nouveau riches millionaires, especially Americans and South Africans. He increasingly employed the renowned American-born art expert resident in Italy, Bernard *Berenson, to authenticate the works he sold. Duveen also built luxury houses for his wealthy clients. He received a knighthood in 1902 for his gift of £20,000 to build the Turner Gallery at London's Tate Museum.
Sir Joseph's eldest son, Joseph *Duveen, first Baron Duveen of Millbank (1869–1939), with whom he is often confused, became head of the firm after the death of his father and uncle (in 1919), and continued to maintain the firm as a leading international art house.
odnb online; dbb, ii, 213–17; S.N. Behrman, Duveen (1972); E. Fowles, Memories of Duveen Brothers (1976).
[William D Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]