Robert Edsel: My FOX dfw: Dallas man brings "The Monument Men" story to light

January 21st, 2014

Dallas News |
My FOX dfw
by Richard Ray
January 21, 2014

The new movie “The Monuments Men” chronicles the group of men and women who worked to prevent artwork from being destroyed during World War II.

The movie came to life because of some North Texas art lovers.

Two of the Monuments Men are connected to Dallas, including one of the directors of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Robert Edsel is the driving force of The Monuments Men Foundation, inside a converted warehouse in Dallas’ design district.

“There are hundreds of thousands of works of art and cultural treasures still missing,” said Edsel.

Edsel made his fortune in the oil business, pioneering horizontal drilling. When he turned 40 years old, he was looking for a new challenge. He found it while studying art in Florence, Italy.

“I wondered how the most destructive conflict in history, a war that cost 65 million lives, how so many of the works of art survived and who are the people who saved it,” said Edsel.

President Roosevelt actually established a corps of academics, the Monuments Men. The group included museum directors, curators, architects, educators, etc. There were 350 of them from 13 countries embedded throughout the Army. Two of the Monuments Men would die in combat.

“At the end of the war, when the fighting was over, their job was just beginning. The greatest theft in history had become the greatest treasure hunt in history,” said Edsel.

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