Meryle Secrest, biographer of Kenneth Clark ("Riveting . . . enthralling" -"Wall Street Journal") and Bernard Berenson ("A remarkable tour de force"-Sir Harold Acton), brings all her exceptional gifts to the story of Lord Duveen of Millbank. Her book is the first major biography in more than fifty years of the supreme international art dealer of ...Read MoreMeryle Secrest, biographer of Kenneth Clark ("Riveting . . . enthralling" -"Wall Street Journal") and Bernard Berenson ("A remarkable tour de force"-Sir Harold Acton), brings all her exceptional gifts to the story of Lord Duveen of Millbank. Her book is the first major biography in more than fifty years of the supreme international art dealer of the twentieth century and the first to make use of the enormous Duveen archive that spans a century and has, until recently, been kept under lock and key at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The story begins with Duveen pere, a Dutch Jew immigrating to Britain in 1866, establishing a business in London, going from humble beginnings in an antiques shop to a knighthood celebrating him as one of the country's leading art dealers. Duveen pere could discern an Old Master beneath layers of discolored varnish. He perfected the chase, the subterfuges, the strategies, the double dealings. He had an uncanny ability to spot a hidden treasure. It was called "the Duveen eye." His son, Joseph, grew up with it and learned it all-and more . . . Secrest tells us how the young Duveen was motivated from the beginning by the thrill of discovery; how he ascended, at twenty-nine, to (de facto) head of the business; how he moved away from the firm's emphasis on tapestries and Chinese porcelains toward the more speculative, more lucrative, more exciting business of dealing in Old Masters. We see a demand for these paintings growing in America, fueled by the new "squillionaires" just at the moment when British aristocrats with great art collections were losing their fortunes . . . how Duveen's whole career was based on the simple observation: Europe has the art;America, the money. Secrest shows how he sold hundreds of masterpieces by Bellini, Botticelli, Giotto, Raphael, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Watteau, Velazquez, Vermeer, and Titian, among others, by convincing such self-made Americans as Morgan, Frick, Huntington, Widener, Bache, Mellon, and Kress that ownership of great art would ennoble them, and while waving such huge sums at the already noble British owners that the art changed hands and all were happy. We discover Duveen's connection to Buckingham Palace: how when the Prince of Wales became Edward VII his first act was to call in Duveen Brothers as decorators (something had to be done with the lugubrious Victorian decor and ghastly tartan hangings); how Duveen supplied the tapestries and rugs for the coronation ceremonies in Westminster Abbey; and how, in 1933, he became Lord Duveen of Millbank. We learn about the controversies in which he became embroiled and about his legendary art espionage (a network of hotel employees spied on his clients to discover their tastes). Duveen was as generous as he was acquisitive, giving away hundreds of thousands of pounds to British institutions (the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum-including rooms to house the Elgin Marbles), organizing exhibitions for young artists, writing books about British art, and playing a major role in the design of the National Gallery in Washington. Meryle Secrest's "Duveen" fascinates as it contributes to our understanding of art as commerce and our grasp of American and English taste in the grand manner. As Andrew Mellon once said, paintings never looked as good as they did when Duveen was standing in front of them.Read Less
Good. 0226744159 Light surface creases on one or both covers. Book corners are bent throughout last third. A few page corners are folded over. Former library item, withdrawn from circulation. It has the usual library stamps and markings. Covers have light edgewear, lightly bent cover corner tips and generally glossy surfaces. Orders ship same or next business day; expedited available. All orders have USPS delivery confirmation/tracking numbers.
Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!
Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!
Acceptable. 9780440212560 ecial Notes} Book is in Acceptable condition: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. The item may have identifying markings on it or show signs of previous use.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-08-09 No one played the high-stakes game of buying and selling Old Masters better than Joseph Duveen, later Lord Duveen of Millbank, who dominated the world art market during the 1920s and '30s. Using the Duveen Brothers' archives, recently made public, biographer Secrest (Being Bernard Berenson) delves into the history of the storied firm, chronicling the career of the audacious entrepreneur who headed it during its heyday, selling Rembrandts, Titians and other costly artworks to the likes of Andrew Mellon, J.P. Morgan and Henry Clay Frick. Duveen was a consummate salesman whose ingenious strategies included a network of "spies" who reported on the lifestyles of his wealthy clients; when a great work of art came on the market, Duveen could determine which multimillionaire would most appreciate it and then cajole and flatter him into the purchase. Secrest paints an engrossing picture of the art-dealing world, fraught with intrigues, betrayals and lawsuits, to say nothing of fakes, forgeries and misattributions. She shows how Duveen maneuvered successfully in this perilous arena; while some of his contemporaries considered Duveen "up to every artful dodge," he probably never knowingly sold a fake. Sadly, his career ended with a giant misstep when he masterminded the overcleaning of the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum. Duveen's life makes a fascinating story, well told in this accomplished biography. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.