Art: The Last Customer

For nearly a century Manhattan's Duveen Brothers Inc. built the most distinguished name in art dealing. Founded in 1877 by an English antique dealer, the commercial gallery was carried to the pinnacle of poshery by his son, Baron Duveen of Millbank, who became so legendary a dealer that 24 years after his death in 1939, a hit Broadway play, Lord Pengo, made fiction of his exploits. He bought and sold Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer three times, always handled, as his motto affirmed, "nothing but recognized masterpieces." His clients were equally well recognized —Mellon, Morgan, Frick, Rockefeller, Kress, Altman,...

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