Author of ‘The Monuments Men’ coming to Old Salem

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 16, 2014

WINSTON-SALEM – Old Salem Museums & Gardens will present “American Perspectives featuring Robert Edsel — The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. Edsel, an author with a special interest on how art and artifacts survived World War II, wrote the book from which the new hit film “The Monuments Men” is based.
Edsel will give a lecture followed by a question and answer session at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts at 405 West Fourth St. in Winston-Salem. Edsel is presented in partnership with First Tennessee Bank and benefits Old Salem Museums & Gardens.
Tickets are on sale now. Ticket prices are $50 for the lower level of the Stevens Center and $35 for the balcony. For more information, visit Tickets may be purchased from the Stevens Center Box Office in person or by phone (336-721-1945). Box office hours for the Stevens Center are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays, 9 a.m. to noon.
“Robert Edsel is a particularly appropriate speaker for Old Salem Museums & Gardens,” Old Salem Museums & Gardens President and CEO Ragan Folan said. “Not only because his focus is on preserving and protecting history, which maps to Old Salem’s mission, but also because Dr. Frank P. Albright, an important figure in the restoration of Old Salem, was one of the Monuments Men. Dr. Albright worked at Old Salem from 1954 to 1973 serving as Director of Museums and Director of Research. This connection makes this story even more significant for our organization.”
Edsel, a former nationally ranked tennis player, began his business career in oil and gas exploration in 1981. His company, Gemini Exploration, pioneered the use of horizontal drilling technology throughout the early 1990s. While living in Florence, he developed a passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the Monuments Men, the unsung heroes who saved the world’s greatest art and cultural treasures for the benefit of civilization.
Edsel has dedicated the last 10 years to painstaking research about the Monuments Men, which culminated in the self-publishing of his book “Rescuing Da Vinci,” a detailed historical account which includes 460 photographs. Old Salem’s Frank Albright is one of the Monument Men pictured on the cover of this book. Edsel is also the co-producer of the documentary, “The Rape of Europa,” based on the award winning book. The film opened in theatres across the U.S. in September 2007, in November 2008 the film was broadcast on PBS and subsequently received two Emmy nominations.
In June 2009, Edsel published “Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection,” by Nancy Yeide, an internationally recognized expert in World War II-era provenance research. The thoroughly documented catalogue is the first study devoted to Goering’s entire paintings collection.
In September 2009, Edsel’s second book, “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” a narrative telling of the story of the Monuments Men, was released by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group. George Clooney wrote, directed and stars in the film version of “The Monuments Men,” which features an all-star cast including Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban.
Edsel’s third book, “Saving Italy” (May 2013), follows two Monuments Men as they struggle to protect and save some of the world’s greatest treasures located in Italy, including works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Edsel is the Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, (, a not-for-profit entity.