Beautiful Loot: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures

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Random House, 1995 - Art - 301 pages
3 Reviews
In what has been called one of the most important pieces of investigative journalism ever undertaken in the art world, Konstantin Akinsha and Grigorii Kozlov tell the story of how the Russians stole millions of art objects from European museums and private collectors in the final days of World War II and hid them away for fifty years. The Nazi confiscation of art from Jewish families and occupied countries has been well documented, but the story of what happened to the art after the Nazis were defeated in 1945 was virtually unknown until recently. Secret "trophy brigades" were established early in 1945, with specific instructions from Stalin to remove art from Germany and ship it back to the USSR on special trains. This operation began while the fighting was still going on and was conducted at a frenzied pace for several months. It was the most prodigious transport operation of artworks in the history of mankind. Trophies were being removed from Germany as late as 1948. Works by such masters as Botticelli, El Greco, Goya, Delacroix, Picasso, Velazquez, Matisse, Renoir, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, and Degas made their way to the Soviet Union. It was not until the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union began to dissolve, that it was possible to piece together this story. Akinsha and Kozlov were instrumental in revealing it to the West and in forcing Russian authorities to acknowledge the existence of the secret depositories. The Hermitage exhibited its collection of previously hidden Impressionist paintings early in 1995, but the Russians have been adamant in their refusal to return the stolen things, and the fate of the trophy art continues to be hotly debated.

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Review: Beautiful Loot:: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures

User Review  - Julia Goren - Goodreads

the nazis ran all over europe, looting private collections and museums, and sending the art back to germany. even before ww2 ended, the soviet 'trophy brigades' following their army discovered troves ... Read full review

Review: Beautiful Loot:: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures

User Review  - Paris - Goodreads

A little dry in places, but fascinating. So that's where the Trojan gold went! Read full review

Contents

THE LOOTING OF GERMANY
17
Boxcars Full of Treasures
153
The Hermitage Adds to Its Collection
169
Copyright

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