Rose Valland on the eve of World War II

Rose Valland on the eve of World War II

To close

Title: Rose Valland, André Dézarrois and a goalie during the crash or the dropout.

Creation date : 1935

Date shown: 1935

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: National Museums Archives website

Contact copyright: © All rights reserved / National Museums Archives website

Picture reference: AMN, 2HH65-3-II

Rose Valland, André Dézarrois and a goalie during the crash or the dropout.

© All rights reserved / Archives of the National Museums

Publication date: March 2014

Responsible for the historical archives within the City of Architecture and Heritage.

Historical context

A volunteer project manager at the Jeu de Paume museum

In May 1935, Rose Valland (1898-1980) assisted the curator André Dézarrois (1889-1979) by carefully preparing the great exhibition Italian Art of the XIXe and XXe centuries. This presentation extended the memorable exhibition Italian Art from Cimabue to Tiepolo, organized simultaneously at the Petit Palais.

With a solid background as a visual artist and art historian, Rose Valland began a long career in the service of museums in 1932 as a volunteer in the section of Contemporary Foreign Schools, an annex of the Musée du Luxembourg. Located at the forefront of modern art, he then increased his exhibitions, and his acquisition policy earned him a certain notoriety during this decade.

The last pre-war exhibition at the Jeu de Paume museum, which puts the art of Latvia in the spotlight, earned Rose Valland the esteem of the Latvian president who awarded her the Medal of the Cross in September 1939. of the Knight of the Three Stars of Latvia.

Image Analysis

Italian art exhibition at the Jeu de Paume Museum, May-July 1935

Rose Valland sets the goal with great intensity, leaning on the base of Il Puro mad, bronze sculpture by Adolfo Wildt (1868-1931), artist from Switzerland. Behind her, on the right, we see another work by the same artist, her self-portrait, to say the least, tormented in marble (1908), on the left, lying down and hardly visible, Lilia nuda (1930), bronze by Bruno Innocenti (1906-1986) and, standing, Figura che cammina, large wooden sculpture by Pericle Fazzini (1913-1971).

In the center of the image, the museum's curator, André Dézarrois, holds back and contemplates The Self-Portrait with the Model by Felice Carena (1880-1966), also known as The window (1930), while leaning on the bronze bust of Stendhal by Antonio Maraini (1886-1963), artist but also fascist politician and key chairman of the exhibition's executive committee. A caretaker, contributing to the installation of the exhibition, holds a work by Felice Casorati (1883-1963), Sleeping girls. Many other paintings in the exhibition stand against the wall. (The labels on the back make it possible to identify works by Conti and Cerracchini.)


An art historian linked to the fate of the Jeu de Paume museum

The disease struck the curator André Dézarrois, which led Rose Valland to play a leading role in the Jeu de Paume museum. On September 28, 1938, Jacques Jaujard, Deputy Director of the National Museums and the Louvre School, entrusted him with making the necessary arrangements for the security of the collections and the proper functioning of the museum. On September 30, 1938, as a result of the signing of the Munich Agreement, the project to evacuate the works, initially devised by Jaujard, came to an end.

A year later, following the declaration of war on Germany, Rose Valland took part in passive defense measures and in the evacuation orders of the collections of the Jeu de Paume museum. The most precious pieces of the permanent exhibition, a set of 283 paintings among the most significant of the Paris school (Marc Chagall, Juan Gris, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Kees Van Dongen, etc.), are arranged in about twenty cases, initially transferred to the Château de Chambord.

In the fall of 1940, a cultural organization of the Nazi Party led by Reich ideologue Alfred Rosenberg moved to the Jeu de Paume Museum, whose mission was to systematically confiscate private collections belonging to people of Jewish origin. Throughout the period of the Occupation, Rose Valland managed to stay in her post, succeeding in removing from the Rosenberg Service (E.R.R.) the most valuable information on the location of the works taken to Germany.

When the armistice is signed, Rose Valland will join the staff of the 1re army of General de Lattre de Tassigny, will travel to Germany to conduct investigations for the identification and return of cultural property recognized as belonging to French artistic heritage. Combined with that of the Allies, his work as a liaison in the Artistic Recovery Commission will enable the return of around 60,000 objects out of the 100,000 transferred to Germany and Austria.

  • Occupation
  • Louvre
  • War of 39-45
  • Nazism
  • Paris
  • Lattre de Tassigny (Jean de)


Corinne BOUCHOUX, Rose Valland, the Resistance at the museum, La Crèche, Geste Éditions, 2006.

Rose VALLAND, The Art Front, Paris, R.M.N. - Grand Palais, 1997, reed. 2014.

Emmanuelle POLACK and Philippe DAGEN, The Notebooks by Rose Valland. The looting of private art collections in France during World War II, Lyon, Fage Éditions, 2011.

To cite this article

Emmanuelle POLACK, "Rose Valland on the eve of the Second World War"

Video: HD Stock Footage WWII Tuskegee Black Fighter Squadron. Wings for This Man