Who were the Real Monuments Men?
German loot stored in church at Ellingen, Germany found by troops of the U.S. Third Army. 4/24/45.
Can’t make tonight’s The Monuments Men talk with Robert Edsel at the National Archives? (Watch it online on the usnationalarchives Ustream channel). Or want to brush up on your history in advance? Read about the real “Monuments Men.”
Made up of art historians, museum curators, archivists, and architects, the men and women from the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) Section of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, aka the “Monuments Men,” were assigned to protect Europe’s cultural heritage.
Learn about individual Monuments Men in the recent series on the Text Message blog:
- Walter Kirtland Hancock, Hometown Hero: St. Louis’s Monuments Man
- Ronald Balfour, A British Monuments Man Killed in Action
- Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, An Unlikely Monuments Man
- Walter J. Huchthausen, A Monuments Man Killed in Action
- Seymour J. Pomrenze, A National Archives Monument Man
- Mason Hammond, the First American Monuments Man in the Field
- Edith Standen, A “Monuments Man” in Germany 1945-1947
- Karol Estreicher, The Polish Monuments Man
- S. Lane Faison, An Office of Strategic Services Monuments Man
- Sir Hilary Jenkinson, An Archivist Monuments Man
- Walter Horn, A Monuments Man Investigator
- Douglas Cooper, A British Art Historian and Collector Monuments Man
Read up on the author of many of these pieces: Greg Bradsher: Monuments Men expert at the National Archives
More on the Monuments Men at:
- Media Matters » The Real Monuments Men
- Prologue: Pieces of History » Nazi Art Looter’s Diary, Long Missing, Found and Online for the First Time
- Prologue: Pieces of History » You won’t see this in the Monuments Men movie
- Monuments Men and Nazi Treasures by Dr. Greg Bradsher, via Prologue Magazine
- Hi-res and public domain images relating to looted art
- Dr. Greg Bradsher’s extensive online finding aid to these materials
- In 2011, the National Archives launched the International Research Portal to Nazi-era records, providing digital access to millions of Nazi-era cultural property–related records through a single portal for the first time.
- The Eisenhower Library has a number of records related to the Monuments Men.
The Real Monuments Men
American GIs hand-carry paintings down the steps of the Neuschwanstein castle under the supervision of Capt. James Rorimer. NARA photo: 239-RC-14-5
The major motion picture, The Monuments Men, is set to debut in theaters nationwide. The movie tells the story of the men and women from the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) Section of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. Made up of art historians, museum curators, archivists, and architects, these “Monuments Men,” as they came to be called, were assigned to protect Europe’s cultural heritage. As World War II engulfed the continent, that task became exceedingly difficult…
Read more via Media Matters » The Real Monuments Men
The Monuments Men
Last week we were privileged to host two special advance screenings of The Monuments Men, one especially for the staff of the National Archives. Thanks to the generosity of Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men upon which the film is based for making this possible. The film will open in theaters around the country on February 7th.
In our East Rotunda Gallery, through the 19th of February, our featured document is an Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) album that records artwork looted by the Nazis during the Second World War – one of a series of photo albums created for Adolph Hitler’s benefit to document the Nazis’ systematic looting of cultural treasures and to serve as a pick list for his planned museum in Linz after the war. The Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program recruited the group known as the Monuments Men (although there were also Monuments Women), and they used these albums to return treasures to their rightful owners. The volume on display is one of several recently discovered albums donated to the National Archives by Robert Edsel, the president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. The newly discovered albums supplement the 40 already in the custody of the National Archives.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Happy New Year!
This festive drawing was made by Gerald Coffee at the Camp of Detention for U.S. Pilots captured in the DRVN.
Artwork: Prisoners of War Art - Vietnam, camp of detention for U.S. pilots captured in Vietnam - untitled (New Year Party) Artist: Gerald L. Coffee, 02/03/1981
Florentine Art Treasures Returned, 07/21/1945
Six trucks with part of the half billion dollars worth of Florentine art treasure, which was taken to Bolsano by retreating Germans, arrives at Piazzo Dei Signoria, Florence, Italy and passes by reviewing stand of American, English and Italian officials.
They have the art, we have the documents!
Join us for a fascinating discussion on Thursday, February 7, at 7 p.m.
Eleanor Jones Harvey, chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), and Michael Hussey, historian at the National Archives, will use images from the exhibit “The Civil War and American Art” at SAAM to explore the connections between these works of art and records from the National Archives.
Rex M. Ellis, associate director for curatorial affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, moderates a panel that includes Ira Berlin, professor of history at the University of Maryland.
The program is free! Enter through the “Special Events” extrance on Constitution Avenue. Take the Green/Yellow Metro lines to the “Archives” stop.
Image: Courtesy of SAAM’s exhibition “The Civil War and American Art.” Eastman Johnson, “A Ride for Liberty—The Fugitive Slaves,” March 2, 1862, oil on board, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. The Paul Mellon Collection, Photo: Katherine Wetzel, © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Mona Lisa in Washington
For 27 days, the Mona Lisa was lent to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC for a very special one picture loan. This special exhibition was arranged by the White House and was viewed by 518,525 people in Washington before it traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from February 7-March 4, 1963.
Unveiling of the Mona Lisa. President Kennedy, Madame Malraux, French Minister of Cultural Affairs Andre Malraux, Mrs. Kennedy, Vice President Johnson. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art., 01/08/1963
Happy National Comic Book Day!
The National Archives has a copy of issue #1 of MAD magazine. This copy of the famous comic book is a permanent federal record, and was submitted to a Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency as evidence of comics’ corrupting influence on young people.
For three days, experts testified on whether or not comic books were “printed poison” for young people. The hearings created so much bad press for the comics industry that it created the Comics Code Authority to self-regulate the content of the magazines.
Examples of the 1954 Code criteria include “Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader” and “Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.”
Mad? Lovers’ Lane? The Fighting American? What was (or is) your favorite comic book?
More background on Andy Warhol and President Carter’s meeting at The Text Message blog: Remembering Andy through the Archives.
Jimmy and Andy in the Seventies
Jimmy Carter with Andy Warhol during a reception for inaugural portfolio artists. 6/14/1977
RIP Andy Warhol: August 6, 1928 - February 22, 1987
“Seabrook Landing, near Port Royal, S. Carolina (Coaling Station)”, 02/11/1863
From the Series: Herbert Eugene Valentine’s Sketches of Civil War Scenes
Dismissed from his job as a draftsman with the U.S. Coast Survey on January 9, 1855, after only two months, influential 19th-century artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler completed this etching “Sketch of Anacapa Island” during his brief federal service.
"Sketch of Anacapa Island," 1854; Records of the Coast And Geodetic Survey
Students! Need a project over Winter Break? There are still 17 days left to enter the Documerica-inspired "Document Your Environment" Student Multimedia Challenge, sponsored by the National Archives and the EPA.
Dated October 25, 1901, this is a pastel and chalk rendering of the steam yacht America by Russell Williams Porter, an artist and surveyor for the the Baldwin-Ziegler Polar Expedition of 1901. The America would later be crushed by pack ice during the subsequent Fiala-Ziegler Expedition of 1903.
A veteran of six Arctic trips between 1894 and 1903, Russell W. Porter left behind an impressive collection of paintings, drawings, notebooks, journals, and correspondence.