Monday, March 7, 2016

678. Indy Connection To WW2 Monuments Men



                I recently attended a presentation at the Indianapolis World War Two Roundtable by two staff members of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The lecture covered the WW2 service of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Thomas Carr Howe, Jr., one of the well-known Monuments Men. He served as part of those military Yanks and Brits who located, retrieved, and returned that multi-million dollar collection of art looted by the Nazis from throughout Europe during the War.
                Howe was a Kokomo native, but grew up in Irvington and graduated from Shortridge High School. Lt. Cdr. Howe was the son of Thomas Carr Howe, Sr., a former President of Butler University, when the school was in Irvington. An Indianapolis high school is named in his honor.
                The IMA lecturers followed the provenance of a Paul Gauguin painting now in the IMA collection to show that it was stolen by the Nazis and processed and returned to its rightful owner by Lieutenant Commander Howe during his service term.
                Lt. Cdr. Howe, who spent much of his life as the director of a California art museum, wrote a book, Salt Mines and Castles, in 1946, after he returned to civilian life. The book was reissued in 2014, probably to capitalize on the Monuments Men movie by George Clooney. I recently bought and read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Next, I have to go to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the Gauguin painting. IMA has a program coming up in April on this topic (http://www.imamuseum.org/talk/).

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