The Monuments Men is art history but with a John Wayne twist. It's the greatest adventure story you have probably never heard about.
Wikipedia "Robert Edsel" and see two words that will make anyone's left eyebrow perk up: Art Detective.
It was 14 years ago, Edsel sold his oil company and moved to Europe to escape the business life and experience life. Therein lied his love for art and fascination with its history during and after the second World War. He would spend the next 10 years exploring how Europe's greatest pieces of art and objects survived the destructiveness of WWII and bring the men and woman who rescued them to light.
ILiveinDallas had the opportunity to interview Mr. Edsel on his work exploring these heroic figures and discusses his upcoming lecture at the DMA.
The research office on Dragon Street is unassuming on the outside, but walk in and you feel like you're stepping inside the Library of Congress (without having ever been to the Library of Congress.) Tall ceilings, enormous red oak desks and images of art history fill the walls. Everything in there looked like it had a story waiting to be told. Lucky me, Mr. Edsel did just that. Except it wasn't every piece. We only had one hour. As Edsel put it during the interview, some people are fascinated by art for the beauty, and some are fascinated by the stories. Most people who visit museums can't tell the difference between Manet and Monet, but people can relate to people stories. There is more to art than what's on the front of the piece, Edsel explains, the story that people can relate to is told on the back of the piece.
The Monuments Men were a group of allied forces tasked to track down and document pieces of art, objects, and documents that had been looted by the Nazi's and or hidden for safe keeping. Some of these pieces you might have seen in museums - The Louvre, The MET, The MOMA, even The Meadows and The Kimbell. If it were not for The Monuments Men, you might have only seen these works of arts and artifacts printed on page 89 in your college textbook or under the section Effects of Nazi Looting today in on Wikipedia.
Did you know there is a piece in the Kimbell and a couple pieces in the Meadows that had been looted by the Nazi's? We are more connected to The Monument Men than you think. Edsel will talk about our local connection with The Monuments Men at Thursday nights Art & Letters lecture at the DMA. He will talk about some of the heroic men and women who went into the service for this mission alone. You will see telling images, view interviews and film footage, and hear one of the greatest adventure stories you have probably never heard about, as Mr. Edsel would say.
Tickets are $15 for the public, discounts available to DMA Members, seniors, educators, and students.
Order tickets https://www.tickets.dallasmuseumofart.org/public
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 N. Harwood St.
Dallas, TX 75201
About Robert Edsel
Robert M. Edsel is the author of the non-fiction book, Rescuing Da Vinci and also The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History which will be released by Hachette Book Group in September 2009. He is the co-producer of the documentary film, “The Rape of Europa,” and Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.