Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pictures at an Exhibition (Sara Houghteling)

There is nothing better than a great historical fiction piece to take the reader to another era. Pictures at an Exhibition accomplishes this for the most part. This is often the little known part of the Nazi reign of their invasion of France also resulted in one-third of all privately owned art being stolen. The Louvre was evacuated to prevent this from happening there.

This is the story of the fictional Berenzon family. The father, Daniel, is a well-respected French art dealer who spends his days educating his son, Max, in the differences between Mattisse and Manet. Max is in medical school, but cannot seem to find his place in life let alone the family business. With the Nazi invasion, the Berenzons are forced to flee, leaving their stash of priceless artwork in the hands of their gallery assistant, Rose Clement. When they return, the collection has vanished. Pictures at an Exhibition continues in Max's quest to retrieve the paintings and find Rose.

While parts of the book move slower than others, it lets the reader in on a haunting truth. The locations of 40,000 French art items pillaged by the Nazis remain unknown.


This review can also be found at