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Defending National TreasuresFrench Art and Heritage Under Vichy$
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Elizabeth Karlsgodt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770187

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770187.001.0001

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Jewish Art Collections

Jewish Art Collections

(p.191) 9 Jewish Art Collections
Defending National Treasures
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines Jewish-owned art collections as Nazi war booty. It considers what happened when the French were able to sequester several prestigious Jewish art collections that eluded the Nazis, including part of the vast Rothschild holdings. Jacques Jaujard, René Huyghe, and their colleagues in the national museum administration developed plans to incorporate masterpieces into the Louvre and other museums—not as a temporary safeguard, but permanently. A significant body of archival evidence refutes postwar assertions that the museum administration merely was protecting the French cultural patrimony and acting in the interest of Jewish collectors. These documents also reveal continuities with postwar cultural policy, implemented by some of the same men who remained in the fine arts office, in which the Louvre and other museums began a complicated guardianship of over more than two thousand objects from Jewish collections that had been recovered from Germany, were returned to France, but not claimed by victims or their heirs.

Keywords:   art seizures, Nazis, Occupation, public museum collections, cultural policy

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