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Digital Art History
October 31, 2014

The Getty Research Institute has digitized the microfilm of the Duveen Brothers records and is providing free online access to the vast amount of material including more than 100,000 pages of stock books, sales books, invoice books, shipping receipts, customer ledgers, and correspondence that includes letters to, from, and about clients, museums, scholars, and other dealers. The documents elucidate the negotiations, intricate details, and communications between staff and branch offices.

Sir Joseph Duveen was among the most prominent art dealers of the first half of the 20th century and he gained international fame for selling European Old Master paintings, antique furnishings, and other objets d'art to American collectors for record prices, (including Henry Clay Frick, J. Paul Getty, Henry E. Huntington, Samuel H. Kress, and Andrew Mellon, etc.). Many of these collections became the nuclei of newly established museums in America.

Series I. Business Records, 1876-1964 is now online and includes records for the branch offices in New York, London, and Paris, as well as the General Business Records.

Series II. Papers and correspondence, 1901-1981 is the bulk of the archive. Series II.A is online now and the rest of the series will be online by the end of December, 2014. This includes correspondence with Clients, Collectors, and Museums, as well as files regarding works of art, and correspondence with Scouts, Dealers, and Restorers.

Find out more about the Duveen Brothers:

For additional online resources related to art dealers, made available with support from the Kress Foundation, please also see:

Knoedler Gallery Painting Stock Books (Getty Research Institute)

WWII Provenance Research (Archives of American Art)

Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974 (Archives of American Art)