Monuments Men movie has local art ties to Kansas City - KCTV5

Monuments Men movie has local art ties to Kansas City

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Monuments Men, the new George Clooney-directed movie, is now in theaters and features some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

The movie tells the story of seven men who worked to save and recover art and other historical items stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The plot is based on actual events and some of the art they saved keeps a home in the metro.

MacKenzie Mallon, a researcher at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, says she thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

"From an art historical perspective I had to take a step and realize that it's Hollywood. It's an enjoyable film, it's exciting, they do a good job of dramatizing the story," she said. "My favorite part was the sets. They obviously looked at actual photographs of these places and did the best they could to depict them."

For the next month, the Nelson Atkins is showcasing the Monuments Men that have a connection to the museum.

"None of our men are featured in the film, but you have to remember that the film doesn't depict actual people. The characters are based on actual people, but they don't actually depict particular Monuments Men," Mallon said.

One of the paintings saved by the Monuments Men is on display in the European collection.

"Prior to the war in 1938 and that year it was stolen by the Nazis and taken to a salt mine in Altaussee, Austria, where it was stored during the war and found in 1944 by the Monuments Men," Mallon said.

The portrait of the king of Poland was returned to the Rothschild family of Vienna who sold it to the museum.

"It's a very familiar story, unfortunately. Many prominent Jewish families had their art collection stolen by the Nazis. Not just the Jewish families, but other non-Jewish families and museums as well," Mallon said.

Mallon says the movie shows the history behind some of the art she's devoted her life to. She said the museum itself also helped protect art during World War II.

"After Pearl Harbor, art collections on the east and west coasts were threatened by possible invasion. Museums and collectors needed to find a place to keep their collections during the war to make sure it was safe. Several of them brought their collections here and we housed over 150 of the most important works in the country and some from Europe during the war," she said.

People can learn more about the Kansas City Monuments Men at the Nelson Atkins. Their exhibition on them will be there through March.

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