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The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy To Steal The World's Greatest Works Of Art Reprint Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0465041916
ISBN-10: 0465041914
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Pillage is one of the traditional perks of warfare. But it took Adolf Hitler to systematize the decimation and despoiling of cultures, and it took Hector Feliciano seven years to track five famous art collections stolen by the Nazis. He uncovered not only Nazi schemes but also a well-oiled machine of collaborators, informants, moving companies, and neighbors, all with their fingers in the pie. The Lost Museum reads like a good detective story. Inspired by a fascination with the theft of five prominent Parisian Jewish families' art collections, it focuses on the beneficiaries of the thefts and justice for its victims. Filled with family photos of the art, some never before seen by the public, The Lost Museum tracks the pieces as they passed through the hands of German officials, unscrupulous art dealers, and unsuspecting auction houses. That the network was so deviously intricate illustrates the enormous challenge of restitution.

The relationship between Nazi higher-ups, keen to advance their own collections, and non-Jewish dealers bodes well for the Parisian art scene. A Picasso for a Titian; two classics for eleven late-19th-/early-20th-century moderns? Such wheeling and dealing reduces art to tug-of-war commodities, and Feliciano's The Lost Museum at times seems to question nothing less than what art serves, and who profits from it. If you like a good detective story and can tolerate the frustration of justice impaired by greed, then this thoroughly documented dark tale is for you. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The systematic looting of Europe's art treasures by Nazi Germany was on a scale rivaled since Napoleon's time. Tracing Germany's methodical confiscation of French collections, journalist Feliciano tells a compelling story. He focuses on French private collections that were either appropriated outright by the German government or "purchased" at fire-sale prices. Though many of these works were returned at the close of the war, Feliciano carefully tracks a number that have yet to be restored. Feliciano does a good job of keeping the various collections, works, and German governmental agencies distinct. Well written and thoroughly documented, the book is a useful addition to the growing literature on this subject. In a work that is part mystery, part crime thriller, and part art history, New York Times reporter Honan tells how he helped track down the priceless medieval treasures of Quedlinburg, missing since the end of World War II. The treasures?jewel-encrusted manuscripts and reliquaries?were last seen shortly before the end of the war and were suspected stolen by an American soldier. Following leads from a German cultural agent, Honan methodically tracks the treasures to a small Texas town. Unraveling the mystery of how they got there and who the culprit was makes for page-turning reading. His account, unlike Feliciano's, is of a relatively isolated incident. Their shared story?the loss of cultural heritage in wartime?is, however, too common. For a more scholarly history of Nazi German cultural theft, see Lynn H. Nicholas's The Rape of Europa (LJ 5/1/94). Both reviewed works are highly recommended for public and academic libraries with an interest in art or World War II.?Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (April 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465041914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465041916
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Those of you who read Lynn Nicholas' astonishing The Rape of Europa will be disappointed by this book, which is in many ways a necessary supplement to Nicholas' spine-tingling work. The record of greed, fear, coercion and barbarism visible behind the glittering surface of the Parisian art world in the 1940's is a truly moving human story. The photographs, all of now-vanished works of modern art, provide a valuable record for the historian, as many of the lost works have never been published. Unfortunately, the book is nearly ruined by a flat and pedestrian writing style. The author may have taken years to write this book, and conducted hundreds of interviews, but one would never know that. Feliciano writes as if he were a USA Today reporter - utterly superficial treatments of serious issues and no sign whatsoever of any personal investment in the story. The art and personalities of the period deserved a better historian than Mr. Feliciano, I am sorry to say. Useful for the documentary information only.
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Format: Paperback
Other books may relate how the Nazis plundered art, but this book actually led the world to do something about it. You know how you read in the paper all the time that some heir of a Holocaust victim is in a lawsuit to get back valuable paintings? It's directly a result of The Lost Museum. For fifty years, nothing happened in terms of restitution. Feliciano's groundbreaking investigative research is what led museums to examine the provenance of their artwork, caused governments to change their statutes of limitations, and urged heirs to pursue artworks they assumed had long ago vanished.

I wish I could give it more than five stars.
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Format: Paperback
This was a big hit in France when it came out, but as an English-language book it suffers by comparison to Lynn Nicholas's magisterial 'Rape of Europa,' a vastly better book on the same topic--better written and better researched. Feliciano takes what is, in and of itself, a fascinating, profound story and cheapens it with his overheated writing style. Also, he claims to have made a lot of new documentary discoveries--the Schenker papers, documenting the shipment of looted works within France--which aren't so new, as anyone who reads Nicholas's book knows. Those documents have been publicly accessible since the late 1970s. On the whole I would not recommend this book, but would recommend the Rape of Europa instead.
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I've read the Lost Museum a number of times for research I am doing on this period. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in WW2 and the devastation caused by the Nazi's. As a fellow journalist I commend Mr. Feliciano for his painstaking work and battling on despite the odds. Bravo, cet oeuvre est un grand succès et je suis sur loin d'être fini. Nous attendons avec impatience la suite!
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Format: Hardcover
A fascinating story about another way the Germans persecuted the countries they conquered during WWII. The writing is not great and there are problems of a linear time-line, but overall an interesting read because it is very obvious the author did a lot of research into this seldom written about part of the war.
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This is a very well written book, it does a great job of allowing you to follow the train of events and understand who the players were, even though it was easiest to follow when talking about well known families (ie: the Rothschilds) it also follows in how devastated the collections were. With the Rothschilds being kept mainly together whereas various dealers had degenerate collections thrown to the wind.

The only issue I had, was it spoke about researching an overall plan but mainly spoke only to the art theft in Paris, specifying that would have been nice, but didn't really change how I viewed the book.

The epilogue was honestly the best part of the book, and was heartbreaking, as he goes through explaining how to identify the paintings is MRA and how little would be needed to fix some of these wrongs and even looking into why the museums would be hesitant to do so. I almost wish more of the book had focused on this, even if it is not quite in the scope of his thesis.
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We all know of the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust in World War II. ([...]) What is less familiar is the systematic stripping of art from the Jews and any person considered undesirable to the Nazis, as well as plain old Nazi greed. The Lost Museum is an in depth look at the looting from personal and public collections and the fate of the artworks. A terrible, moving story that needs to be told.Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this work should have been something like "Knaves of Art: The complicity of the Paris art market in Nazi theft of Jewish art in World War II.". As such it is well enough told in an episodic way, highlighting through description the moral and ethical positions taken by many people who surely knew what was happening. The pictures of the art galleries disposed of and the pieces of art still missing bring forth both sadness and indignation. This book is not anything like a comprehensive study of the overall Nazi plunder of art which needs to be sought elsewhere. With a more honest title this book might have deserved four stars. Fault the publisher more than the writer.
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