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Monuments Men: On the Front Line to Save Europe's Art, 1942-1946

George Stout at entrance to the Altaussee salt mine
February 7 - April 20, 2014

During World War II, an unlikely team of soldiers was charged with identifying and protecting European cultural sites, monuments, and buildings from Allied bombing. Officially named the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section, this U.S. Army unit included art curators, scholars, architects, librarians, and archivists from the U.S. and Britain. They quickly became known as The Monuments Men.

Towards the end of the war, their mission changed to one of locating and recovering works of art that had been looted by the Nazis. The Monuments Men uncovered troves of stolen art hidden across Germany and Austria?some in castles, others in salt mines. They rescued some of history’s greatest works of art.

Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are the papers of Monuments Men George Leslie StoutJames J. RorimerWalker HancockThomas Carr HoweS. Lane FaisonWalter Horn, and Otto Wittman. These personal archives tell a fascinating story.

This exhibition complements a project to enhance access to the Archives’ collections for World War II provenance research funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Related blog posts:

Monuments Men in Japan: Discoveries in the George Leslie Stout papers

Artful Collaborators: James J. Rorimer and Rose Valland

Monuments Men Inside the Mines