AS AN INTERNATIONAL art dealer, Joseph Duveen (1869 -- 1939) had few equals. The son of the founder of Duveen Brothers in London, he made his mark during the tumultuous 1920s and '30s, when European aristocrats found themselves with an abundance of art and staggering tax bills, while America's new industrial barons had vast wealth and bare mansion walls. How Duveen transferred Old World masterpieces to New World collectors named Frick, Huntington, Widener and Mellon is the story of a new book, "Duveen: A Life in Art." The author, Meryle Secrest, will lead a study day on the Duveen mystique Saturday at Hillwood Museum & Gardens. Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post was among the dealer's eager clients. But Secrest's book devotes far more attention to Duveen's storied dealings with National Gallery of Art founder Andrew Mellon. (Not only did Duveen sell Mellon dozens of paintings and sculptures, but he testified favorably at the treasury secretary's tax trial.) Secrest ends with Duveen's role in the overzealous cleaning of the Elgin marbles. But even that infamous episode can't dim the luster of this legend.

-- Linda Hales

At Hillwood Museum & Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $45-$60, including lunch. Reservations required. Call 202-686-5807 or visit


ALT-COUNTRY "IT" GIRL Tift Merritt may look like the separated-at-birth twin of "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson, but there's nothing vaguely creepy or distantly chilly about the Raleigh, N.C., native. Merritt wraps her blue-eyed-soulful voice in cozy dive-bar packages, and she manages to stay warm even when gently rocking about cold, good-for-nothin' men. Her 2002 debut, "Bramble Rose," was a nuanced coming-out party, all prickly guitar parts and controlled phrasing. Merritt's new disc, "Tambourine," adds rocky bombast and go-girl abandon to the mix. She's a little bit Dolly Parton, a little bit Sheryl Crow, too. And she's probably really, really tired of Scully jokes.

-- Sean Daly

At Iota Club & Cafe, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Thursday at 9 p.m. $12. Call 703-522-8340 or visit


FOR THE PAST DOZEN years, Foundry United Methodist Church has presented an annual "Concert for Life," a benefit to raise consciousness for HIV/AIDS education and support that also contributes direct help to those suffering from the disease, both at home and in Africa. On Friday night, Eileen Guenther will conduct a 60-voice chorus, orchestra and soloists in a program of music by Purcell, Handel, Rachmaninoff, Schubert and others to bolster the cause.

-- Tim Page

At Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th and P streets NW. Friday at 8 p.m. $15-$25. Call 202-332-4010 or visit