Skip to comments.What the Monuments Men Wrought
Posted on 01/29/2014 10:56:06 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
In the next few days "The Monuments Men," directed by George Clooney and boasting an all-star cast, will be previewed in staid and upper-crust locations such as the National Gallery of Art and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government before being released nationally on Feb. 7. This makes sense, for the film is about a small group of art professionals, many of them from Ivy League colleges and top U.S. museums, who, in the last days of the war and well after the surrender of Germany, secured and preserved millions of European cultural objects looted by the Nazis and returned them to the nations from which they had been taken. The adventures of this unlikely group make Indiana Jones look like an amateur.
About 400 of these men and women would eventually be placed in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives sections of the Allied armies, a policy that resulted from lobbying by U.S. art-world leaders and politicians that also would persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish the Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic Historic Monuments in War Areas in 1943. The commission made sure the people selected were transferred to MFAA duties from all corners of the war effort. George Stout, a leading conservator at Harvard's Fogg Museum, had been perfecting airplane paint for the Navy. Others, good at geography and languages, had ended up in intelligence. They would have the adventure of their lives.
I was fortunate to have met many of them in the course of my work in museums, but was unaware of their wartime feats. That would change in 1980 when I read the obituary of Rose Valland. She had been a curator at the Jeu de Paume Museum during the German Occupation. The Nazis used the museum to warehouse their lootmostly the...
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
The Ghent Altarpiece (1432) by Jan van Eyck Erich Lessing / Art Resource
There is much more at the link.
I am too. One of my daughter’s in laws was in the European Civil Affairs Division, which ran the occupation of Germany. He helped preserve a trove they ran across in their area.
I read the article this morning, and as much as I dislike George Clooney, I’m looking forward to seeing it.
I don’t dislike him only for his politics, btw, but because I have always thought there was something slimy about him. I don’t know why, but it makes it hard for me even to watch his performance in movies. However, I’ll bite the bullet and go to this one!
A veritable festival of leftists. I’ll pass.
It might be a worth seeing agter it comes out on DVD. Meanwhile I will watch THE TRAIN with Burt Lancaster again.
I have read that there is a large amount of Nazi Reich art confiscated by the US Army and kept in a cave in Virginia. Art restorers are at work keeping the paintings in good shape. I suppose they will bring it out in a hundred years or so when all the sting of Nazism is gone.
But then, they may be just changing the faces of Adolf to Obama.
My dad (turns 90 this year) was on the 16th level and inventoried and guarded the diamonds and jewels. I believe the art work was on the 14th level. He said when Eisenhower came down to assess the area, he made a new policy that an Officer and an enlisted man had to be down there together. He has some really interesting stories, as all those WWII Vets do.
My family all served in the Pacific Theatre. My uncle’s ship was sent to the Philippines to load cargo and to bring it back to Seattle. Top secret. One of the sailors dropped a sack and gold spilled out. It was the Philippine Treasury. Most of it was recovered, but some disappeared into pockets.
Clooney gives a remarkable performance in The Descendants, filmed in Hawaii.
I wonders if they’ll show them going into the Goering chalet in Berchtesgaden and finding all sorts of art ... But the wine and booze all gone.
Courtesy of Major Richard Winters, Captain Lewis Nixon and Co.E of the 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division ..
Ocean’s Eleven with Nazis. The trailers look interesting.
Just watched The Train the other night! Good movie. Same subject really.
Interesting article, thanks for posting.
There’ a story of how the Gestapo raided Gertrude Stein’s apartment in Paris (she had retreated to the countryside) to plunder the great art but were found by neighbors in her bedroom trying on her Chinese jackets and other female clothes.
Roger that. I’ll wait until it pops up on one of the TV stream venues. I won’t intentionally put a nickle into looney Clooney’s pocket!
Me too. Many, many years ago I had the privilege of taking an introductory art history course from Lane Faison, one of the men mentioned in the article while I was in college. Great teacher, but he never mentioned the OSS work.
It was probably still classified.
I'm sure it's going to be one of those "based on a true story" kind of movies, but with that cast it should be great.
I enjoyed the book and hope the movie is as good.
I am equally torn.
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