When the Germans invaded Paris during World War II, one of Hitler’s objectives was to loot as much of the world’s great art from museums and private collections as possible.
Parisians stripped thousands of art works from their private and public places and hid them wherever they thought the Nazis might not find them. However, there were plenty of priceless pieces that were stolen, and some were never recovered.
The basis of “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Sara Houghteling is the art dealer who collected and sold masterpieces, befriending great artists in doing so.
When the Germans came, he lost his collection and his hope. His son sought to follow in his father’s footsteps both before and after the war.
To prove his father wrong about his lack of passion for art, he began a post-war search for the missing works to gain his father’s respect.
Rose Vallard was a real double spy during the war, assisting the Germans in collecting art work, but with the intention of logging the whereabouts of these works so they could be restored to their rightful places after the war.
In this book, the character who is Vallard becomes the pining love of the art dealer’s son and together they search for the masterpieces.
There is real history here. There is real pain. The suffering of the many is seen through the lives of the few in this novel.
Houghteling weaves the scenes with a very human feel. I love the historical story and the establishment of the characters. A very human work.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ― Vincent van Gogh
Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2017 season is his 11th with the club and 32nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.
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