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“Monuments Man”: The Mission to Save Stolen Artwork

October 19, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

During the destruction and devastation brought about by World War II, a segment of the US army set out preserve Fine Art threatened by the Third Reich. The U.S. Army Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Group was tasked initially with preservation and ultimately, to track and recover art masterpieces stolen by the Nazis. The story of James Rorimer, his fellow Monuments Men, and their hunt to rescue valued artworks tells one of many unique stories from World War II.

With Monuments Man: A Mission to Save Vermeers, Rembrandts, and Da Vincis from the Nazis’ Grasp now back in print, we are thrilled to welcome Louis and Anne Rorimer, James Rorimer’s children, to walk us through their father’s life and work.

Tickets: Members – $10 // General Admission – $15.

To purchase tickets, click here or call 843-723-9912 during box office hours.

About the Book:
A classic now back in print and enriched with new imagery, James J. Rorimer’s riveting first-hand account takes readers on a treasure hunt as he follows the Allied troops across France and Germany to save Nazi-stolen masterpieces of art.

James J. Rorimer, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, became a leading figure in the art recovery unit known as the Monuments Men, an elite group imbedded in the US Army, who risked their lives during World War II to save Europe’s greatest artworks from Hitler’s grasp. In the film Monuments Men, Matt Damon’s character is based on Rorimer as he embarks on the world’s most dangerous real-life hunt for stolen artworks with the goal of locating, seizing, and returning the works to their original holders, including museums and private collectors.

This new edition of a book first published in 1950 includes the original illustrations from the first edition plus a wealth of new imagery and ephemera uncovered during extensive research, including WWII photographs, many taken by Rorimer himself, that are accompanied by gorgeous reproductions of many of the Old Masters Rorimer helped save by artists such as Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Bruegel, Vermeer, Goya, Velazquez, and van Eyck. Maps created specially for this volume, and other facts about WWII history and geography, add new dimension to a remarkable story of courage, perseverance, and ultimately, triumph.

About the Authors:
James J. Rorimer was the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art until 1955 when he was made director of the museum, a position he held until his death in 1966. Rorimer’s children, Louis and Anne Rorimer, collaborated to co-author this brilliant new edition of Monuments Man.  Anne Rorimer is an Art Consultant and Historian, specializing in American and European Art created after 1965.  Like her father, Anne has been a Museum Curator.  First of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago and subsequently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.  She has authored many monographic and thematic articles as well as her own book, New Art in the 60’s and 70’s: Redefining Reality.  Louis Rorimer was a lawyer by profession.  After retiring from a 35 year career, he returned to his family’s art history roots, Greek and Roman antiquities in particular, focusing on the role of provenance.  Louis Rorimer holds a B.A. from Harvard and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University.  He and his wife of 44 years, Savery Rorimer, manage an organic farm in Chagrin Falls, OH, Snake Hill Farm.


Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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