In April 1945, the U.S. Army discovered the collections of Berlin’s leading museums hidden in a German salt mine. The art was sent to the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point run by the Monuments Men and led by Capt. Walter I. Farmer, a native of Cincinnati. In November, 202 key works were sent to Washington, D.C. for safekeeping and remained there in storage for two years. In 1948 they were exhibited at the National Gallery of Art, then took a whistle-stop tour of 13 U.S. cities before being returned to Germany.
The first publication to address this fascinating chapter in cultural history is The Berlin Masterpieces in America: Paintings, Politics, and the Monuments Men. Created by a multi-author team led by Peter Jonathan Bell and Kristi A. Nelson, the 224-page volume features 311 illustrations, interviews with people who knew Capt. Farmer later in his life, and an illustrated checklist of all 202 artworks.
Published by D Giles Limited (gilesltd.com), the book was meant to accompany an exhibition that would have opened at the Cincinnati Art Museum this June. The show has been delayed, but the book can be enjoyed now.
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