Monuments Man Lt. Fred Hartt
The Monuments Men were a group of middle-aged scholar-soldiers, some of whom were artists and teachers, faced with a seemingly impossible task: minimize damage to Europe’s art, architecture, and history from the ravages of war; effect repairs when possible; and locate and return stolen works of art to their rightful owners.
Prior to the war, Frederick Hartt was an art historian—a rising star in his field. He worked as an assistant and cataloguer at Yale University Art Gallery before his commission into the U.S. Army in 1942, at the age of 29. Hartt was a go-getter, sometimes impulsive and idealistic to the point of being naïve, but his passionate love of Italy and its great cultural treasures made him an invaluable asset to the short-handed Monuments Men group.
[Frederick Hartt Papers, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Gallery Archives]