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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Paintings, Politics and the Monuments Men: The Berlin Masterpieces in America


Cincinnati Art Museum / Cincinnati / Art

When Adolf Hitler toured the city of Florence in 1938, he spent four hours in the Uffizi, taking in the collection. As the scholar Lynn H. Nicholas writes in her book The Rape of Europa, “The trip made abundantly clear to Hitler that Germany’s existing public collections would not suffice to adorn the multiple new museums being planned for Berlin and Linz.” Hitler would loot national collections, hiding his take until after the war, while at the same time destroying all art he deemed “degenerate” (read: modern). Enter the Monuments Men. This special task force of American and British museum directors, art historians, and curators joined forces in an effort to stop the steal. (The 2014 movie The Monuments Men was based on Nicholas’s book.) In this exhibition, paintings that made the postwar journey from Berlin to America are on display, along with historical material from the Cincinnati Art Museum. —E.C.

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