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 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, B
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