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Lovegrove, Lt. William A. | Moore, Lt. Lamont | Munsing, Stefan P.


Moore, Lt. Lamont  

Lieutenant, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer

A graduate of Lafayette College, Moore began his career at the Newark Museum of Art and Science where he worked from 1933 to 1940. Upon the opening of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1941, he became curator of the education department. While working at the museum, Moore participated in the transfer of 75 masterpieces in the collection to the Biltmore Estate for safekeeping during the war years. He also assisted in watching over the paintings and their condition after their arrival at the Estate in January, 1942. Moore was on staff at the National Gallery throughout his MFAA service until 1947, when he was named associate director of the American Academy in Rome. He remained in Rome for only one year, and then embarked on his long career at Yale University. He worked as associate director of the Yale University Art Gallery from 1948 to 1953, and then succeeded John Marshall Phillips as director of the museum after his unexpected death. Moore also taught a graduate course at Yale University on museum techniques and administration. He left the University in 1957.

During World War II, Moore was commissioned as a Lieutenant with the MFAA section in early 1945. In April, he discovered a vast repository near Magdeburg, Germany filled with thousands of items stolen from Polish churches. Moore assisted Lt. Cdr. George Stout in the evacuation of the Siegen copper mine in May and June. This was the first major repository discovered, and upon its evacuation the contents were removed to the Marburg Collecting Point. Moore was next assigned to Alt Aussee, along with Lt. Cdr. Thomas Howe and Lt. Steven Kovalyak (the three were later named “Special Evacuation Team”). At Alt Aussee, they discovered countless treasures, among them Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna, the Ghent Altarpiece, and the Rothschild jewels, which were personally escorted to the Munich Collecting Point by Moore and Howe. Moore was then sent to Berchtesgaden with his team, where they removed 31 truckloads of artworks in a mere thirteen days. At Berchtesgaden, the infamous Göring “Vermeer” was found. Walter Andreas Hofer, Göring’s art advisor, had told Moore and Howe of the Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, weeks earlier while they were transporting him to Art Looting Investigation Unit (“ALIU”) interrogations. By the time Moore saw the painting, it was already known to be a fake painted by Hans Van Meegeren. He also reported for duty at Neuschwanstein, a repository filled with items looted from Jewish families by the ERR. In the castle they found numerous private collections, including part of the Rothschild and David-Weill collections, along with detailed records of the ERR.

Lamont Moore was one of the many MFAA officers who signed the Wiesbaden Manifesto arguing against the removal of German-owned artworks to the National Gallery in Washington. However he became involved with the opposing side when Maj. Bancel LaFarge asked him to assist with the selection and packing of the 202 paintings, perhaps because of his position at the National Gallery and his relationship with Col. Henry McBride, who was strongly pushing for the paintings to be brought to the United States. Moore accompanied the paintings to Washington, D.C., and acted as the curator of the collection while they were stored at the museum before their eventual return to Germany in 1949. In February 1946, Moore also began working for the Roberts Commission as an Administrative Officer and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer.

 

 


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