Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Do you know Rose Valland?

Saw a very interesting documentary entitled Hitler’s Museum, The Secret History of Art Theft During World War II.  

Most people who are interested in art history know all about the Nazi plundering that went on during the WW II.  The major museums took great pains to hide their masterpieces, but nevertheless many pieces from both public and private collections ended up being looted during German occupation.

But here, very briefly, is the tale of Rose Valland (1898-1980)

The Germans used the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris (a part of the Louvre) as their central storage and sorting depot before distributing the work to various locations in Germany.  Rose Valland, an art historian and curator at the museum, was assigned to supervise the operations while the art was being stored and readied for shipment out of France.

Where the tale gets interesting is by night; Valland would secretly go through the German records compiling information on the art work, method of shipping and destinations. She was able to pass this information on to the French Resistance and was responsible for saving much of the art the world enjoys today.

She was a recipient of the Légion d'honneur, the Médaille de la Résistance, and was named a Commandeur of the Order of Arts and Letters. In the 1950s, she also received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Rose is a hero to the art world and luckily hasn't been forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting documentary. Learning about this remarkable woman was a highlight!