Devoted to the life and work of Anneta Duveen and her contemporaries

Anneta Duveen portrait
                                                                                                                                          Peter Duveen Photo
Photo portrait of Anneta Duveen, circa 1970 with work of art.

Anneta Duveen was an author, sculptor and watercolorist. She was born in Brooklyn in 1924, the eldest daughter of Julius and Shirley Applebaum. Her father was an attorney who handled a number of high profile cases, and who, during  World War II held a position on the local draft board. Mr. Applebaum was also for a time president of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

Duveen told a story of visiting a fortune teller. The woman told her that her mother had tried to abort her. Surprised, she later related the tale to her mother, who confirmed that yes, she had indeed attempted to abort her three times, but upon failing at the third attempt, realized that her child had a strong will to live, and afterwards did everything in her power to keep her child healthy.

Applebaum family
Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
Anneta Duveen, right, age 12, with her sister, Joan, and parents,
Julius and Shirley Applebaum

Duveen suffered from asthma as a child, and her mother tried many different remedies and trips to the country. Finally, she was able to overcome this physical infirmity.

The earliest record of artistic accomplishment for Anneta Duveen emerges at the age of 14, when she published an illustration for the student magazine of Adelphi Academy, where she attended High School. She continued to learn art under Anna Morse until her graduation, and often credited Morse's training with her artistic success in later life.

Anna G. Morse
                                      Archives, Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
Anna G. Morse, Anneta Duveen's High School Art Teacher

Early work of Anneta Duveen 1

Early work of Anneta Duveen 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Archives of the Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
Above: two early works of Anneta Duveen, probably woodblocks used in decorative illustrations, executed at age 14.
(Taken from The Adelphian, issued by Adelphi Academy, Brooklyn, N.Y., Fall, 1938.)

From there, she studied at Columbia University for a short time. In 1942 she married Charles Joel Duveen, Jr., son of interior decorator Charles J. Duveen and grandson of the co-founder of Duveen Brothers, Sir Joel Joseph Duveen (who late in life changed his name to Joseph Joel Duveen, which was also the name of his son). During World War II, Duveen joined her husband in Texas as he trained on the then-state of the art B-29 aircraft as a bombardier-navigator, and the couple gave birth to their first child. Charles J. Duveen, Jr. was assigned to a squadron in the Pacific, and returned to the states after being shot down off the coast of Japan during a bombing run. The couple had two more children after the war, and opened an auction house for fine furniture, art works and jewelry around 1948, which they named House of Duveen.

The Duveens in 1949
                                                                                     Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
The Duveen family, from left, Anneta, Peter, Charles Jr., Charles III and Wendy,
on the
terrace of the family's apartment at 68 Bank St., Greenwich Village.

Duveen suffered from polio in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and was close to death. She had a good nurse, who pushed her to recover, which she finally did, although she suffered from a slight limp due to the attrition in the muscles of one of her legs.

The auction house suffered from under-funding and poor business management, and Charles Duveen Jr. apparently bid on the house's account, a move that was illegal at the time. House of Duveen was forced to close, probably in 1953. The Duveens divorced in 1954. In 1955 Anneta Duveen managed for some months the Hansa Gallery, where the many of the second generation of abstract expressionists showed their work. Among the artists represented by the gallery at the time were Wolf Kahn, Ida Fischer
, and metal sculptor Richard Stankiewicz. Through this undertaking, Duveen was inspired to produce her first serious works, among which were a bust of Stankiewicz, which was stolen from an art show, and of Benjamin Franklin, which has also been lost.

duveen work woman peering out of windowDuveen: Benjamin Franklin
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
Early works of Anneta Duveen: left, Woman peering out of window; right, Benjamin Franklin.

Duveen explored abstract expressionist approaches in her painting and sculpture, but eventually abandoned it for a more realistic style, bucking the trend of the times. In late 1950s she executed a series of watercolors of Adelphi, Maryland and environs, where her sister, Joan Applebaum Ahrens lived. She later extended her watercolor work to include scenes of Brooklyn, where she moved around 1957.

Around this time she returned to Columbia University, and after enrolling in some courses, began work on a collaboration with Dr. Lloyd Motz, professor of Astronomy, on an astronomy text. She also was responsible for illustrating the text, which was published under the title "Essentials of astronomy," and went through many printings.

In 1966 she was co-organizer for an art show in Park Slope, Brooklyn dedicated to works that portrayed Prospect Park. Over 66 artists participated in the program.

Around the same time, she completed a bust of Robert Kennedy, which was dedicated as a memorial and which today stands at Borough Hall Park, Brooklyn.

Frederick A. PriceJohn M. Olin
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture
Plaster bust of Dr. Frederick A. Price, Consul General of Liberia to New York (life size, 1955), left, and bronze of industrialist
John M. Olin (monumental, 1975).

She continued to produce sculpted works throughout her career, including a bust of John M. Olin, a commissioned work, around 1975. In her later years, much of her work was liturgical in nature. She  had converted to Catholicism in the 1950s, and as a catholic convert from Judaism, she was inspired to complete stained glass windows, tabernacles, and sculpture portraits of saints and bishops. After a visit to Assisi, Italy in 1969, she was inspired to join a Catholic lay order founded by St. Francis. She served for a time as the president of the North American federation of the order. She remarried in 1978 to Benjamin Duveen, a cousin of her former husband's who was in the travel business, and left Park Slope for Port Chester, New York.

Among her later works was a life-sized sculpture portrait of Pope John Paul II and his parents, which was eventually installed in the Pope's apartments at the Vatican,

In 2005 she left Port Chester for a studio in the upstate town of Hebron, N.Y.

Maximilian KolbeChristopher Columbus
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Maximilian Kolbe, Catholic saint and humanitarian, left, and Christopher Columbus.

Duveen suffered from heart trouble, and in the Spring of 2006 underwent surgery, from which she suffered a stroke and lost her sight. After a slow period of recovery, she continued to manage the exhibition of her art works. Her last show was at the Salem Art Works in Salem, New York, in the spring of 2007.

She died on October 28, 2007 in New York City from complications arising from pancreatitis.

Duveen left several works in progress, including "Angel," and a portrait bust of Edmund Rice.