The Portrait of Esther The Black Notebook

Art on the roads of France

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Episode II - page 71

As Iris explains, the Château de Chambord was one step on the road to safety for the evacuated artworks.

If some of them stayed at Chambord for the duration of the war, the majority of them would be sent to other sites for storage and safekeeping. Initially these sites were situated in the West of France, but soon their suitability was questioned when this region became part of the Occupied Zone. In fact, from the Armistice of 22 June 1940 onwards, France was divided into two zones: the northern half of the country was occupied by the Germans, and the other half of the country was the Free Zone. The artworks were relocated to new storage sites here.

In November 1942, the first Allied landings took place in North Africa, in an effort to begin the liberation of France. Germany responded by occupying the totality of the French territory. Once again, the artworks were placed in trucks to move them as far as possible from the fighting.

When the war ended, the artworks returned to the museums. This episode was heavily covered by the media at the time.

Map of the Free and Occupied Zones by Eric Gaba and Rama
d’après Eric Gaba et Rama