Stolen Beauty

One of the highlights of my time in the Netherlands was the magnificent artwork. On our free days, the students who participated in the Study Away Program taking some time to explore the country on their own, my colleague from UAB and I often traveled to one or another art gallery. We saw mesmerizing works including “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in The Hague and “Starry Night” in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is home to many, many famous artists–Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Gogh, and Brugghen among them.

A story in today’s New York Times explores a very dark moment in Holland’s history generally and in the art world specifically. During World War II, numerous paintings by the Dutch Masters were stolen by the Nazis and, as the article posted here reports, are being returned by Holland’s authorities to their rightful owners in an untimely manner:

I hope that I will be able to return someday to the Netherlands to revisit the great works of art I saw on my visit in 2015. Perhaps some memorable pieces will have been relocated.

On a related note, a film called Woman in Gold featuring Helen Mirren as a Jewish Holocaust survivor seeking her family’s art that had been taken by the Nazis is supposedly a compelling portrayal of the beauty and riches stolen from Jews during the war. I’ve not seen it yet but just might after reading the story in the NYT.



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