Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Rape of Europa

I heard about this 2006 film an ordered it from Blockbuster. We watched it tonight. The film was extremely well done, I thought even though I tend to avoid Nazi films and documentary accounts of the war and accounts of Nazi genocide. Done in documentary style with interviews and scholars as well as film clips from the war, it focused on the horrifying sub-plot of the Nazi's to not only acquire for the Third Reich, and their own personal art collections, the best of the best of the Culture of Europe and Russia, but the systematic plundering of the homes and apartments of Jews who had been deported. The trucks and train loads of furniture, artifacts, silver, and religious items shown in the film defy description. I knew nothing about this aspect of the Holocaust, although I did know that the Nazis stole artwork, and Hitler and Goering's art collections were legendary, the scale of the theft and plunder is unbelievable.

Of particular interest to me personally, had to do with the United States Army's "Monument Men" and film clips and interviews about Deane Keller, who was a professor of art at Yale University. He was assigned to help protect and recover as much art and treasure as he could from Italy and the cities that the allies were forced to bomb. He documented his activities and his writings are in the Yale Library where I found references online. His activities in Italy, and the return of thousands of artworks to cheering crowds in Florence did bring on a few tears.

His son, Deane G. Keller taught me to draw, or rather taught me to love to draw. I took several of his classes at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and his teaching style was so low-key I barely remember his classes. In a most subtle way Deane Keller's incredible knowledge of anatomy and ability to draw seemed to come to me by osmosis.

This is a drawing I did in Deane Keller's Lyme Academy Class in 1990. I was very sad to learn tonight that he had passed away in 2005.


  1. That is truly a stunning drawing!

    Off post topic, is caesin and egg tempera the same thing?

  2. Hi Robin,
    No casein is a milk based paint which is becoming quite popular. I have never used casein but I am about to get a tube of white to punch up the lights on my watercolors. Pat Weaver, of Dade City, told a few of this about this trick!
    I understand that you can make your own casein paint, but the instructions seem too complicated for me. Egg Tempera is pigment mixed with water and then egg yolk. It is a very ancient type of paint used by the Egyptians, Icon Painters, and numerous 20th century artists. It is a fascinating medium with lots of possibilities, but somewhat tedious for people who like to push paint around. Egg Tempera paint dries almost instantly so it is generally applied in small hatched strokes in many layers on gesso panels (real not acrylic gesso).

  3. oH I got my dairy products confused. I am a pesca vegetarian LOL

    Great info for me, I am thinking about the casein... time to try it

  4. Gainor,
    What a wonderful blog you have! I did not know the history regarding Deane Keller's father, what an interesting man he was. I am glad I got to meet his son, I attended one of his shows at the LAA, I was not lucky enough to have taken one of his classes at Lyme Academy. I loved your description of the movie and I will have to see it now. Have you seen Youth Without Youth with Tim Roth? I think you would like it! I am at The TSETSE Gallery in New London, CT now and enjoying it very much. We miss you here, but it is great to check out your blog and newsletter and to see your smiling face. You have always inspired me in so many ways, thanks so much.

    Maurene Kennedy

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