Hollywood has told the story of how Monuments Men retrieved artworks that had been looted by Nazis. Newly discovered archival information brings to life the untold story of what they did next at the U.S. Army’s Office of Military Government at the Central Collecting Point (CCP) in Munich. How did the so-called ‘Monuments Men’ transform the war-damaged former Nazi Party headquarters in Munich into the largest ‘museum’ and greatest art history project that had ever been undertaken? How did they create the incredible expertise to identify the artworks? How did they build the infrastructure to restitute the objects? And, as millennia of priceless treasures of European cultural heritage were being gathered under one war-damaged roof, who could be trusted?

Dr Iris Lauterbach presents her new research on the events, people, and intrigue of the Munich CCP in the crucial years 1945–1949. Based on previously unpublished records, archives, and photographs, she uncovers the stories of the people who worked there at a time of lingering political suspicions. In this talk, she narrates the fascinating knowledge-building, conservation, and restitution processes. It is also the remarkable story of the foundation of Germany’s Central Institute for Art History: the library that powered the CCP’s knowledge base has grown into the one of the world’s largest art history reference libraries, where she is a researcher.

Events

29 January 2019: Lecture and Book Launch

The lecture will take place on 29 January 2019, 6-7pm, followed by a reception for the UK book launch of Iris Lauterbach’s The Central Collecting Point in Munich: A New Beginning for the Restitution and Protection of Art, translated by Fiona Elliott, with an introduction by James J. Sheehan (Getty Publications, 2018). The respondent is Dr Johannes von Müller (Warburg Institute). The convener is Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies).

Free, all welcome, RSVP here

To purchase a copy of the book only, click here

 

 
30 January 2019: Masterclass with Iris Lauterbach

A research masterclass for graduate students and postdocs/ECRs on ‘Restitution and Re-education: Postwar Cultural Policy for/in Germany: Sources and Methodology’, led by Iris Lauterbach, on 30 January 2019, 10am-1pm, at the Warburg Institute, London. Free, lunch provided.

Apply here by 15 December 2018.

 
Iris Lauterbach (centre) with Barbara Smyth (left) and Craig Hugh Smyth (right), first director of the CCP, 1996

 

Biographies 

Prof. Dr. Iris Lauterbach is an honourary professor at Munich Technical University and a member of the research department at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte. Her fields of research are architecture and the visual arts in national socialism, cultural policy in postwar Germany (1945-1949) and European garden history from the 16th to 20th centuries.

Dr Johannes von Müller 

Dr Elizabeth Savage is Lecturer at the Institute of English Studies. She specalises in the history of printing techniques across text and image. In 2018 and 2019, she holds a Wolfgang Ratjen Fellowship at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte.