After the second world war, a team of art experts tried to rescue the thousands of artworks stolen by the Nazis. Now Anne Olivier Bell, the last of the ‘Monuments Men’, is to be the subject of a George Clooney filmThis summer Anne Olivier Bell turned 97. Her name may not mean much to readers, except for those who are familiar with the five volumes of Virginia Woolf’s diary, which she edited with meticulous thoroughness, or those who attend the annual Charleston literary festival, where she sits in the front row, making sotto voce comments on the quality of the talks.Her work on the diaries took 25 years – transcribing, writing footnotes and fact checking in the London Library – and she was awarded honorary degrees by both York and Sussex Universities. But I most admire, and want to celebrate, the fact that she is the last surviving member of the so-called Monuments Men, who were responsible for the protection of historic buildings and for the return of the huge number of works of art that had been seized by the Nazis in the early stages of the second world war.When we visit Europe’s museums nowadays, I don’t think many …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books