April 15th, 2013 | 9:26 am
George Clooney has lined up an incredible cast for his next film, Monuments Men. As we previously reported, the story centers on a group of art experts selected by the U.S. Government to chase down the stolen art of Europe during World War II. Aside from the terrific premise, Clooney, who co-wrote the film with partner Grant Heslov, will star alongside a cast that includes Daniel Craig, Jean Dujardin, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett. Dujardin, Murray, and Blanchett had previously been mentioned in connection with the film, and Craig is a strong addition along with other new cast members John Goodman, Bob Balaban, and Downton Abbey‘sHugh Bonneville.
|According to Deadline, filming is set to begin on March 1st, and Alexandre Desplat will be handling the score. The rest of the crew from Argowill be on board as well, because this movie wasn’t sounding awesome enough.|
|Here’s the synopsis for the source material, Robert M. Edsel‘s non-fiction novel The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History|
|At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised.|
|In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives
scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture
Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis. [Amazon]
As reported by Matt Goldberg on Collider.com:http://collider.com/daniel-craig-george-clooney-monuments-men/206982/
June 6 is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the D-Day landings that marked the beginning of the Western Allied invasion of German-occupied northwestern Europe. About 160,000 Allied soldiers came ashore that day, almost half Americans, many braving a hailstorm of bullets, artillery, and mines. The blood stained beaches of Normandy, France served as a testament of their heroism. 9,387 American men, many just teenagers, are buried at the American Cemetery located on the once German-held ridge above Omaha Beach where they fell. Those that survived would carry the memory of their fallen comrades with them into Germany as they liberated the people of Europe – and those in the death camps – from the tyranny of Hitler and Nazism.
By July 4, the Allies had put ashore more than one million soldiers including a forty-six year-old art restorer named George Stout, the man who more than any other developed the idea that lead to the creation of the Monuments Men. This handful of cultural preservation officers worked alongside troops to protect churches, museums and other historic structures from the destruction of war, in particular by Allied forces. Soon their efforts would concentrate on locating some of the millions of cultural objects – paintings, sculpture, church bells, library books, and religious objects – stolen by the Nazis. In the course of their journey two Monuments officers would be killed during combat. Their mission would survive the war’s end by almost six years. By 1951, the Monuments Men had returned more than five million stolen objects to the countries from which they’d been taken.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, an organization I founded to preserve the historic legacy of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II. The announcement of this organization took place at the United States Senate on the occasion of Resolutions unanimously passed by both Houses of Congress that for the first time honored the service of these heroes of civilization. Four Monuments officers joined us for that special occasion and represented the other 345 officers of thirteen nations who served this great cause.
Since that time the Foundation has been honored in numerous ways including its receipt of the National Humanities Medal, our nation’s highest honor for work in the humanities, presented by the President of the United States at a ceremony in the White House. The publishing of my two books on the Monuments Men – Rescuing Da Vinci, and The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History – have reached readers in more than eighteen languages.
Many wonderful consequences that will further honor these heroes have since accrued. My new book – Saving Italy – about the efforts of the Monuments Men in the cultural cradle of civilization, will be published next year. Soon The National World War II Museum will construct a permanent exhibit about the Monuments Men as part of its Liberation Pavilion. And work is underway by George Clooney and Grant Heslov on their film, based on my last book about the Monuments Men, which will reach a global audience. These developments ensure that these heroes’ legacy will forever be known and honored. Their service expands our understanding of the achievements of “The Greatest Generation.” This day reminds all people who enjoy freedom, and the arts, of the debt we owe the men and women who struggled so mightily to defeat the greatest threat to civilization of the twentieth century.
Today marks the 67th anniversary of the announcement formally ending World War II in Europe, the most destructive war in history. With the announcement came the end of the Third Reich and the rule of Adolf Hitler. May 8 forever became known as “V-E Day”: Victory in Europe.
As we mark this anniversary, we have the opportunity afforded us by the passage of time to consider how different our world would be had it not been for the historic orders issued by General Eisenhower which established, clearly and succinctly, the policy of the western Allies concerning the protection of cultural treasures during combat. This was the first time an army attempted to fight a war while mitigating damage to monuments and other artistic treasures.
On December 29, 1943 during combat operations in Italy, and again prior to the D-Day landings in Normandy, General Eisenhower issued historic orders that stated, “We are bound to respect those monuments so far as war allows.” The primary instruments of that policy were a small group of men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, known as “Monuments Men”—museum directors, curators, artists, architects and librarians who volunteered for service to protect monuments from damage, and effect temporary repairs. These “scholar soldiers” changed our world by preserving it. Imagine: most every museum in Europe emptied of its contents, closed for almost six years. It was the greatest upheaval of cultural treasures in history! Near war’s end, the Monuments Men located millions of stolen paintings, books, tapestries, and other artistic treasures which had been hidden in salt mines, caves, castles and other Nazi hideouts. By 1951, the Monuments Men had returned more than five million objects to the countries from which they had been stolen. In a break with thousands of years of history and with conquerors past, the policy of the western Allies was clear: “To the victors do NOT belong the spoils of war.”
We continue to live with the altered legacy of Hitler and the Nazis. Sixty million lives lost; destruction on a scale unknown to man before or since; irreplaceable parts of the civilization of our planet lost forever. But right and goodness prevailed; much of civilization did survive, all at an enormous cost. We honor the sacrifices of others by learning from these experiences and not repeating their mistakes. We honor them by remembering. I think of my father today, a World War II veteran of the Pacific, who died four years ago. Thank you to my Dad, and to the men and women who served alongside of him for saving our world.
(Generals of the German High Command signing the formal surrender documents which ended the war in Europe on May 7, 1945. From left to right: Major General Wilhelm Oxenius, an aide to General Jodl; Colonel General Gustav Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army; and General Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg, Commander in Chief of the German Navy)
George Clooney has started to work on his next project, writing, directing and starring in a big-budget movie about the men who chased down the stolen art of Europe during World War II, he told TheWrap on Saturday.
“The Monuments Men,” which Clooney is co-writing with his producing partner Grant Heslov, will tell the story of a hand-picked group of art experts chosen by the U.S. government to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis.
“I’m excited about it,” Clooney told TheWrap at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday. “It’s a fun movie because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small — it’s landing in Normandy.”
The movie will be based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” by Robert M. Edsel.
Monuments officer, Lt. Robert A. Koch, died on November 11 after a lengthy illness. Koch served with the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946. While working with the MFAA, he was stationed at the Office of Military Government for Wurtenberg-Baden in Germany. Koch signed the Wiesbaden Manifesto, a document outlining the MFAA opposition of the removal of German-owned artworks from the Wiesbaden Collecting Point to the United States.
Koch became a prominent Northern Renaissance scholar earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina in 1940 and 1942, respectively. Following his military service, he attended Princeton University for continued graduate studies. In 1948, he received a Master’s of Fine Arts and began working on his Ph.D., which he received in 1954. Koch’s teaching career began at Princeton in the fall of 1948 in the Department of Art and Archaeology. He was named full professor in 1966. In 1950, he accepted the additional position of assistant director at the Princeton Art Museum. Koch also became Curator of Prints and Drawings in 1961. In 1990, Koch retired from the university and was named professor emeritus.
Among his many honors, Koch was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant in 1956 to study art history in Belgium, and later received a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies in 1961. He was a member of the College Art Association, serving as its director from1961 to 1963. He is also the author of several books, including Joachim Patinir (1968) and Hans Baldung Grien; Eve, the Serpent and Death (1974).
With the passing of Mr. Koch, there are now just seven living Monuments officers.
During World War II, while tens of thousands of Allied troops were flooding the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, the Monuments Men were impatiently waiting to cross the English Channel for their chance to contribute. For Monuments Man James Rorimer, future director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the gravity of the situation gripped him that day as he wrote in a letter we found while researching my last book:
“We are told that the invasion of Western Europe by overwhelming forces is underway…Now I am thinking of the combat troops and the task which is theirs. We older men are anxious on the one hand to help deal the death blow to tyranny, and on the other we think of our families at home and the obligations which we have as husbands, fathers, sons, and members of the peace-time community.”
-James Rorimer Letter to his Family, June 6, 1944
Over the last few months, I have been conducting research for my next book, Saving Italy, which will also rely on the letters the Monuments Men wrote to their families. One of the first things that occurred to me while reading these letters, was the extent to which the thoughts and feelings conveyed reflect their age and maturity. The Monuments Men had an average age of 40; a few had even fought in World War I. For the most part, these heroes were not the fearless young men who went to war before their adult lives had really begun. In contrast, these men had accomplished careers, they had wives and children, they had learned lessons from life’s experiences, and they had everything to lose. Reading their letters always reminds me about their commitment to saving the cultural world and its great artistic treasures we all cherish, and the courage of their convictions in volunteering to serve.
So today, I would like to thank the Monuments Men for their service, and all of the Veterans and service men and women of our country. Their cumulative sacrifices enable us to live the lives we lead. It is a silent sacrifice, one without complaint, as these brave soldiers “just do their job” out of duty and honor to our nation. We can’t say thank you enough to these remarkable men and women. We celebrate your bravery today and every day.
Museum historian Nancy Edwards, left, and author Robert Edsel were both instrumental in determining the history of a bust of Isabella d’Este at the Kimbell Art Museum. The bust was found among articles collected by Adolf Hitler. Star-Telegram / Ron T. Ennis
Robert Edsel, Nancy Edwards and the Kimbell Museum were instrumental in determining the provenance history behind a bust that is on display at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The article that appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram explains how Robert became aware that this bust was in a salt mine at Alt Aussee during and after World War II due to Adolf Hitler’s desire to own it and its incredible travels from auction houses in Europe and America and eventually settle in Fort Worth.
To read the full article as it appeared in the newspaper, click here: Fort Worth Star Telegram – Mystery Woman
To read the full article as it appears on their website, click here: DFW.com – Was Kimbell Statue Hiding a Sordid Sales History?
Please forward this article to all your family and friends.
Watch Walt Maciborski’s special report about Robert Edsel talk about the Monuments Men and the greatest untold story of World War II on The 33 News at 9pm CST. Robert will also talk about his continued search for displaced cultural items from World War II. Click the link to watch the trailer and for local listing.
The Monuments Men Foundation is proud to announce the discovery of an audio recording of General Eisenhower speaking about the importance of art and its protection during war.
The speech was delivered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on April 2, 1946 at an event in which General Eisenhower was presented with an Honorary Life Fellowship from the museum with a citation that read:
“To Dwight D. Eisenhower, soldier, diplomat and statesman, through whose irreplaceable art treasures were saved for future generations.”
Award recipients with Texas Governor Rick Perry, including Bill Paxton,
Bob Schieffer, Barbara Smith Conrad and ZZ Top.
Other articles in this newsletter: the announcement of a new book coming out in Spring of 2013, Remembering Maria Altmann, and Robert Edsel presented with Texas Medal of Arts.