Art: In Trust?

The War Department had assured everyone that it was not out for loot: the 202 masterpieces from destroyed or damaged German museums were being stored in the air-conditioned vaults beneath Washington's National Gallery of Art "in trust for the people of Germany or the other rightful owners."

This week this assurance was challenged, and from a surprising source. In the February Magazine of Art, 32 out of 35 officers of the U.S. Army's Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives staff in Germany—the men responsible for forwarding the masterpieces—declared that the paintings would have been perfectly safe in Germany. Said they: "Depots and personnel,...

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