The Monuments Men and the National Gallery of Art

February 11, 2014 – January 4, 2015

West Building Founders Room

During World War II, as part of the military’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) program, American art historians, museum and art professionals, and archivists were deployed as military officers to protect works of art, historical buildings and monuments, and archives in war theaters throughout western Europe. The National Gallery of Art was deeply involved in these efforts.

Through a small but poignant selection of photographs, documents, and memorabilia, many never before exhibited, this archival display describes the seminal role the National Gallery of Art played in the creation of the MFAA and the Roberts Commission and explores the real-life experiences of a few of the monuments men.

Image: Lieutenant Craig Hugh Smyth at the Munich Central Collecting Point with looted art, 1945. Charles Parkhurst Papers, National Gallery of Art, Gallery Archives


Monuments Men Albums in the National Gallery of Art, Department of Image Collections

List of officers, selected bibliography, and related links

Listen: Robert M. Edsel discusses The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (August 2010)

Listen: Robert M. Edsel discusses Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis (May 2013)