U.S. Soldiers With Manet's 'In The Conservatory,' Stashed In A Salt Mine, 1945

May 29, 2021

In this colorized photo, the “Monuments Men” locate Manet’s “In The Conservatory” (also called “The Greenhouse” and “Wintergarden”) in the Merkers mine in Germany. Over the years, many published sources have claimed that the painting was looted, but it was actually German owned, having been purchased by Jean-Baptiste Faure. In 1896, it was given to the German Nationalgalerie in Berlin as a gift by the Berlin Friends of Art. In 1945, the painting, along with many others, were removed from the museums and stored in the Merkers mine to protect it from bombing. Over the years, the image has been falsely used as an example of Nazi looted art. This false claim arose from an erroneous caption on the Signal Corps photograph at the National Archives. This, and other works recovered from Merkers were moved to the Reichsbank in Frankfort, before being moved to the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, a repository used mainly for German-owned property. In August 1946, it was in Washington along with other artwork to be displayed at the National Gallery of Art as well as other museums. By 1949, it was returned to the German government, and is on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie

Image colorized by Mads Madsen

Although it was preserved in the mine, it almost fell victim to a similar fate that other works of art succumbed to under the Nazi regime, as the Nazis considered selling it and other French Impressionist work from the German museums as they sought to destroy any art considered “degenerate.” After World War II, the “Monuments Men,” a small corps of men and a few women, who had been working as historians, architects, museum curators, and professors to become part of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allies worked to recover artworks stolen by the Nazis.t 

Hitler Did Not Like Modern Art

Source: (Reddit).

When Hitler, who considered himself an art connoisseur was denied admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, he attacked modern art, including Cubism, Futurism, and Dadaism, calling them degenerate; he and the Nazi party favored classical portraits and the landscapes of the Old Masters. Under the Nazi regime, all degenerate art in Germany’s museums was to be destroyed or sold, and the proceeds used to establish the European Art Museum in Linz, his home city, which he planned to transform into the Third Reich’s capital city for the arts. He hired architects, who were working from his own designs, to build galleries and museums, which would be known as the Führermuseum.