On Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in The Historic Elsinore Theatre, Willamette University brought to Salem Robert Edsel's stories of modern treasure hunters.
Edsel is a best-selling author, producer and founder of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. He told tales and answered questions about the Monuments Men — people of the allied forces’ Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program who protected and recovered artwork stolen by Nazi Germany during World War II.
As part of the university’s Atkinson Lecture Series and in partnership with Willamette’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the title of the free, public talk matches Edsel’s latest book, “Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis,” which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list after the success of Edsel’s earlier book, “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.”
Edsel’s work captured the attention of George Clooney, who was inspired to write, direct and star in “The Monuments Men” — a 2014 feature film based on Edsel’s book of the same name.
Both "The Monuments Men" and "Saving Italy" were available in the lobby, and a book signing followed the talk.
“Taking the Long View: Art and Cultural Heritage in an Age of Terror”
Edsel’s lecture was part of a semester-long series of free events that explore the legacy of conquest, colonization, and cultural terrorism — from the ongoing dispute over the Parthenon's marble frieze to the destruction of World Heritage sites in the Middle East by present-day iconoclasts and terrorists. Kicking off with a Sept. 3 talk about the Acropolis, the series continues through Nov. 12.
Generous support for Edsel’s lecture came from: Caroline Rubio, mother of Melvin Henderson-Rubio ‘74, the Atkinson Endowment Fund, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Department of Art History’s Sponenburgh Fund, the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds, and the Oregon Arts Commission. Special thanks to the Historic Elsinore.