Sunday, April 7, 2013



Title: The Lost Museum
Author: Hector Feliciano
Publisher: BasicBooks / HarperCollins
ISBN: 0-465-04194-9
265 pages

My mother was a 17 year old medical student living in Paris when the Germans invaded and took over the city in 1940. With her family living in another part of the country, she was essentially on her own, spending what little free time she had with the family of a close friend. The family apparently had a large art collection that was confiscated by the Germans. Much of the collection was lost
never recovered after the war ended.
Anyhow, I remember my mother telling me stories about the amazing art this family had on their walls - true impressionists; post-impressionists, etc. t's a story that's stuck with me throughout the years which is probably the reason I latched on to this book. No the book isn't perfect, kind of bouncing around between a 50,000 foot view of the German desire to pillage and more detailed material on individual collections that were co-opted. There's also an annoying "look how great my research" is segment at the end of the book. I would also have loved more information on what happened to the art. Clearly quite a bit of it was returned and there are brief segments that talk about works appearing at auction; works that were captured by the advancing Russian army, but what do folks think happened to the rest of it? My other complaint - I wish the few photos had been in color. Reproduced in black and white simply doesn't do them justice. Those criticisms aside I enjoyed the book quite a bit. Particularly interesting were the segments that delved into the history of some of the best known collections to have been confiscated. It must have been amazing to see homes literally choking on impressionist works.

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