War Crime?

"On April 10, 1940, the day after Hitler's troops entered Denmark and Norway, [the famed art collector Peggy] Guggenheim rented an enormous apartment on the Place Vendome, and she went so far as to have the little plaster cherubs chopped off the walls and the place suitably repainted for the display of her treasures before, at last, she admitted defeat, just weeks before France did the same. Dangerous weeks, it might be said, for a woman with a prominent Jewish name.

"By her own account, however, Guggenheim seems to have been disturbed mostly by the French refusal to protect her art: Leger had advised her to ask the Louvre for storage space, but the august museum pronounced her entire collection not worth saving.

"'A Kandinsky, several Klees and Picabias, a Cubist Braque, a Gris, a Leger,' Guggenheim fumed, along with Surrealist paintings by Mir?, Max Ernst, Chirico, Tanguy, Dali, Magritte: all this had to find refuge in a friend's barn in the Vichy countryside."

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