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"The Monuments Men" - Historical Information & Curatorial Perspective

The Legion of Honor in San Francisco, California organized a "live" Google Hangout with a curators, writers and experts with historical information about "The Monuments Men." It is now available on YouTube as a recorded program titled:

Art Talk: Monuments Men

The YouTube video is embedded in this post below but you could watch it online full screen. I'd highly recommend watching this conversation before going to see this movie as the speakers offer insight and curatorial perspective. 

In addition, this post includes a number of books, documentary movie and links mentioned in the video as resources. Scroll down....

The discussion (1 hour, 11 minute) in this video includes  representatives from the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; Archives of American Art; The Frick Reference Library; and the American institute for Conservation Oral History Project—all institutions whose directors, curators, and conservators are directly involved in research.  

I've originally learned about the Monuments Men several years ago from a documentary film titled, The Rape of Europa. This documentary is available from NetFlix or perhaps your local library. I highly recommend watching the documentary and visiting their website for more information. "The Rape of Europa begins and ends with the story of artist Gustav Klimt's famed Gold Portrait, stolen from Viennese Jews in 1938 and now the most expensive painting ever sold."

In addition, Charlie Rose hosted a show with author Robert Edsel. Don't miss it! Robert Edsel wrote two books about the Monuments Men: The Monuments Men (on which the film is based) and Saving Italy. He is articulate and passionate about this topic.  


This post includes some screen captures from the Google Hangout. I posted them here to peak your interest in this fascinating topic. 


Objects rescued by The Monuments Men above and below.



Books about the Monument Men include:

The-Monuments-menThe Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel









‘Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis’ by Robert M. Edsel 








Shadowed- by-Grace

Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men by Cara Putman









Monuments-Men-11-BookRepatriation of Art

Repatriation of Art from the Collecting Point in Munich After World War II







Rose Valland: Resistance at the Museum by Corinne Bouchoux










Salt Mines and Castles: The Discovery and Restitution of Looted European Art by Thomas Carr Howe Jr





ARTICLES and RESOURCES about the Monument Men.

Not All Monuments Men Were Men from The New York Times 

‘Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis’ by Robert M. Edsel article in The Washington Post 

The Frick During World War II

The True Story of the Monuments Men from the

The Monuments Men Foundation

Most Wanted: Works of Art from the Monuments Men Foundation website. 

I did see the movie The Monument Men in the movie theater. While it has the usual Hollywood fluff and superficial character development, it was exciting to see the theater full late on Saturday afternoon. 

The Indiana University Art Museum has an interesting page titled Indiana University Art Museum Provenance Project. They describe the problems with "Nazi-era Provence" and their efforts to step up "efforts to research and document provenance for works that are known or suspected to have been in Europe during the Nazi era (1933–1945), and that may have changed hands during that time period." 

'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art
NPR has an interesting review of the show at New York's Neue Galerie that includes empty frames from paintings lost or destroyed by the Nazis. 'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art


This article from the New York Times, "Germans Propose Law to Ease Return of Art Looted by Nazis" is worth reading. 

"The legislation comes in response to the uproar surrounding the discovery, made last year of hundreds of possibly looted artworks in the Munich home of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of an art dealer who worked for the Nazis during World War II. " Here is an article from the Huffington Post about the "1,400 Nazi-Looted Artworks Found in One German Apartment" 


Harriete Estel Berman

Books in this post are affiliate links.