The Portrait of Esther The Black Notebook

Jacques Jaujard and the evacuation of French museums

Episode II - page 24

Jacques Jaujard played a very important role in the protection of French collections during the Second World War.

As the Head of France’s National Museums, he organized the transfer of 4,000 artworks to the secluded castles of the Loire for safekeeping. Selected for the amount of storage space they afforded, as well as their remote locations, from August 1939 onwards, these castles became repositories for huge convoys of artworks sent from Paris. The aim was twofold: to protect the artworks from the bombings, and to ensure that they would not be looted by the Germans during the Occupation. In addition to public art collections, Jacques Jaujard also oversaw the protection of some large private collections, including part of the Rothschild family’s collection.