Real Monuments Men relic housed at Minneapolis Institute of Arts


One of the relics rescued by a team of Monuments Men during World War II – a group chronicled in an upcoming movie directed by and starring George Clooney – is being featured at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Star Tribune reports.

The museum purchased a 1505 terracotta bust of Saint John the Baptist by Benedetto da Rovezzano last year, and it will be featured in a self-guided Monuments Men tour of the museum's collection starting Monday. The bust is reportedly one of nine works of art that will be featured in the exhibit.

The tour is being held in conjunction with the release of "The Monuments Men" movie, about a group of art historians, conservators and museum directors President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent into Europe to find and safeguard thousands of paintings, sculptures and priceless artifacts looted by the Nazis. In addition to Clooney, the film also stars Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman and Bill Murray.

The Star Tribune says two former Monuments Men worked on the Institute of Arts' staff: Richard Davis (1917-1985) was a curator at the museum from 1946-1956, and director from 1956 to-1959; and Harry Dobson Miller Grier (1914-1972) was an assistant director at the museum from 1946-1951.

Meanwhile, Forum Communications is spotlighting a late Bemidji man who was among the 345 soldiers tasked with protecting the historical and cultural artifacts during World War II.

Charles R. Sattgast does not appear to be portrayed in the film, but his legacy is not forgotten. He served as the president of Bemidji State University from Feb. 1, 1938, until his death on March 24, 1964.

Sattgast took a leave of absence to join the military in 1943, and was eventually asked to become a part of the Monuments Men.

Minnesota Public Radio also features 10 different Monuments Men with Minnesota ties, while the Mankato Free Press highlights Mankato native Ralph W. Hammett – one of the first three Monuments Men in France.

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