Nazi Loot in American Collections
Nancy Yeide, head of the department of curatorial records and files, National Gallery of Art, and the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Curatorial Sabbatical Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art. The looting of cultural property by Nazi forces has been called the "Greatest Theft in History." In total, the Nazis looted more than 200,000 individual items, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries, during World War II, primarily from Jewish owners in the occupied countries. In this lecture recorded on February 2, 2003, at the National Gallery of Art, Nancy Yeide provides the provenance of famous cases to explore how some looted art ended up in American collections and museums. Yeide also discusses how Hermann Göring, founder of the Gestapo and commander of the German Air Force, used his political and military power to amass the largest private art collection in Europe.