UNT to present lecture by author Robert Edsel

Robert Edsel
Author of "Rescuing Da Vinci" and co-producer of the documentary film "The Rape of Europa"
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What:   Robert Edsel, author of Rescuing Da Vinci and co-producer of the documentary film The Rape of Europa, speaks about the book and the film at the University of North Texas.

When:  4-5:30 p.m. Jan. 28 (Wednesday). Screenings of The Rape of Europa from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 26 (Monday) and from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 27 (Tuesday).

Where:  Lecture in Golden Eagle Suite of UNT's University Union, located one block west of Welch and West Prairie streets. Film screenings in Room 255 of UNT's Eagle Student Services Center, located across from the Willis Library on Highland Street between Avenues A and C.

Cost:  Free

Contact:  UNT Honors College at 940-565-3305

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- While living in Florence, Italy, during the late 1990s, Dallas oil company executive Robert Edsel developed a great passion for art and wondered how so many of the monuments and great works of art were kept out of the hands of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany and survived the destruction of World War II.

During his research, Edsel learned about the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allied armies. Known as the Monuments Men, this special force of American and British museum directors, curators, and art historians had a primary task after the 1940 Nazi invasion of France -- protecting statues, historic buildings and other important cultural landmarks.

After six years of research, Edsel published Rescuing Da Vinci, a largely photographic book about the Monuments Men, in 2006. Edsel will discuss his book at the University of North Texas Jan. 28 (Wednesday).

Edsel's free lecture is scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Golden Eagle Suite of UNT's University Union, which is located one block west of Welch and West Prairie streets. A book signing will follow. The lecture is part of the UNT Honors College Lecture Series and is hosted by the Honors College and its Advisory Board.

In addition to Rescuing Da Vinci, Edsel will also discuss The Rape of Europa, a 2006 documentary that tells the story of the Monuments Men. The film will be shown at UNT in Room 255 of the Eagle Student Services Center from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 26 (Monday) and from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 27 (Tuesday). Admission is free. The Eagle Student Services Center is located across from the Willis Library, which is on Highland Street between Avenues A and C.

Edsel served as a producer for The Rape of Europa, which is based on the book of the same name by Lynn Nicholas. The film begins and ends with the story of artist Gustav Klimt's famed Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, known as the Gold Portrait. The painting was confiscated by the Nazis when they took over Bloch-Bauer's Austrian estate in 1938. Recovered by the Monuments Men, the painting was sold in the U.S. in June 2006 for $135 million, which made it at that time the most expensive painting ever sold.

In addition to writing Rescuing Da Vinci, Edsel is the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which preserves the legacy of the Monuments Men by raising public awareness of the importance of protecting artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflicts. The foundation received the 2007 National Humanities Medal, which is given to groups and individuals whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities. It is the highest honor given for excellence in the humanities field.

Edsel is also known for his community service in Dallas. He served on the board of the Dallas chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the advisory board of St. Philip's School and Community Center, the advisory board of the Meadows Museum of Art and on the board of trustees of St. Mark's School of Texas, where he was also president of the Alumni Board.

In 2003, he served as chairman of a committee to develop a master plan for the Turtle Creek corridor, a neighborhood in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas. It now serves as the city's master plan for the Turtle Creek greenbelt.

Edsel recently became a board member of the American Friends of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

He is a graduate of St. Mark's School of Texas and received his finance degree from Southern Methodist University. In 1999, Edsel attended Harvard Business School's Odyssey Program, an executive education program that addresses the issues of transformation and career renewal at midlife.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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