Hebron man creating museum of Brooklyn art, culture

duveen1By Jaime Thomas

Though the local area isn’t overflowing with art museums, there are several sprinkled throughout Washington County.

Offering an intimate glimpse of a tight-knit group of artists’ work in a unique setting is one such museum in Hebron.

Peter Duveen, along with his wife, Junalyn, is in the process of turning his 100-year-old home on Tiplady Road into an art gallery called the Museum of Brooklyn Art and Culture. It’s no wonder the Brooklyn native developed a passion for his undertaking—he comes from a long line of art aficionados.

His great-grandfather was Charles J. Duveen, or Charles of London, a known interior designer. His grandfather was a famous art dealer and his mother was an artist and sculptor.

It’s no surprise then given his strong connection to Brooklyn that his collection centers on a group of artists who were active in Brooklyn Heights in the 1920s.

“It’s more of a culturally astute neighborhood right near the Brooklyn Bridge and the water, an old, charming neighborhood,” he said, explaining that independent research led him to that particular group of artists.

But the interconnectivity of his collection is part of what makes it so unique. Across from a certain artist’s painting, for example, hangs a portrait of that artist. And a chair that belonged to the subject of one painting sits in the house as well. The artists knew each other well and spent time together.

“It’s a very particular collection,” Duveen said, one that is partially a family history for him and partially a focused research on Brooklyn at that time.

As part of the experience of visiting the museum, Duveen offers home-roasted coffee to enjoy by an open, brick-lined fire in the home, which used to be a charcoal factory. Hospitality is an aspect he wants to make prominent for visits.

“We want it to be intimate in a certain way. We want it to be relaxed,” he said. “Why should it be sterile?”

To that end, he gives regular, Saturday morning presentations on different topics relevant to his collection, which are open to anyone interested in attending.

“People can see kind of an interesting slice of culture, original paintings and a very interesting group of people,” he said, adding that many area residents have connections or origins in the Brooklyn area.

Additionally, Duveen said he would welcome school groups or others to the museum, which has attracted art-lovers from throughout New England and New York. Parts of the collection have been borrowed as well. Several paintings, for example, will soon be featured in an exhibit on Long Island.

Duveen, who also gives science presentations for home-schooled children, hopes to develop the museum into a cultural center in the future. For now, budgetary considerations will limit the gallery to either free Saturday presentations or by appointment. To find out more or to give Duveen notice for a presentation call 518-854-7867 or visit www.petersnewyork.com/MOBAAC/INDEX.html.

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