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(Q15820747)

English

James S. Plaut

American art historian, museum director, Monuments Man and ALIU

  • James Plaut

Statements

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1 February 1912Gregorian
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1 January 1996
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In 1944, before the Allied invasion of Europe, Justice Owen J. Roberts (chairman of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas-The Roberts Commission) met with Brig. Gen. William J. Donovan of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and requested that a special intelligence unit dealing with looted art be formed and administered by the OSS. Roberts envisioned that this unit would assist both his Commission and the U.S. Army's Museum, Fine Arts & Archives officers. Both were involved in the identi-fication and recovery of looted cultural property. Donovan agreed to the creation of an art looting investigation unit under the OSS. An inter-branch directive dated November 21, 1944, authorized it. The Art Looting Investigation Unit's mission was set forth in the directive (English)
The Roberts Commission asked Francis Henry Taylor, then director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, to select fine arts professionals for the ALIU in whom he had confidence and who would be most adaptable to the required work. Taylor asked James S. Plaut, who had served in the Office of Naval Intelligence since 1942, to become director of the ALIU. Theodore Rousseau-on staff at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, prior to the war and serving as United States naval attacheacute; in Spain and Portugal during the hostilities-was named the ALIU operations officer. S. Lane Faison, Jr., professor of fine arts at Williams College, was detached from his naval station and joined the unit in 1945. (English)
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The Roberts Commission asked Francis Henry Taylor, then director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, to select fine arts professionals for the ALIU in whom he had confidence and who would be most adaptable to the required work. Taylor asked James S. Plaut, who had served in the Office of Naval Intelligence since 1942, to become director of the ALIU. Theodore Rousseau-on staff at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, prior to the war and serving as United States naval attacheacute; in Spain and Portugal during the hostilities-was named the ALIU operations officer. S. Lane Faison, Jr., professor of fine arts at Williams College, was detached from his naval station and joined the unit in 1945. (English)

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