Friday, June 12, 2020

The Louvre vs the Nazis

From the New York Post:
By the time the Germans seized Paris, the Louvre had dispersed all of its 3,600 paintings, along with thousands of sculptures and objets d’art, throughout France. Several staff members went into exile too, accompanying these works and restoring them while in hiding. Amazingly, the Louvre stayed open, despite its hallowed halls and paltry displays.

“There wasn’t much to see, but the Germans wanted to cultivate the impression of business as usual,” said Gardner. And they did manage to swipe a few things, including Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s “Immaculate Conception,” which they sent to Spain as a gift to dictator Francisco Franco, who they were hoping would help them with the war.

At first, the Germans seemed happy enough to plunder the private collections of Jews who had either fled France or were sent to concentration camps. But toward the end of the war, they ordered Jaujard to have the Louvre’s collection sent back to Paris (presumably so they could then transport it to Germany). “Jaujard managed to forestall that threat by saying that they needed to keep the art hidden because those big, bad British are coming with their airplanes,” said Gardner. (Read more.)

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