The Vanished Collection,
by Pauline Baer de Perignon
Translated by Natasha Lehrer
New Vessel Press
US publication date 1/11/2022
paperback and ebook
La Collection disparue
was first published in French
Nonfiction / memoir
It all started with a list of paintings.
There, scribbled by a cousin she hadn’t seen for years, were the names of the masters whose works once belonged to her great-grandfather, Jules Strauss: Renoir, Monet, Degas, Tiepolo and more.
Pauline Baer de Perignon knew little to nothing about Strauss, or about his vanished, precious art collection. But the list drove her on a frenzied trail of research in the archives of the Louvre and the Dresden museums, through Gestapo records, and to consult with Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano.
What happened in 1942? And what became of the collection after Nazis seized her great-grandparents’ elegant Parisian apartment?
The quest takes Pauline Baer de Perignon from the Occupation of France to the present day as she breaks the silence around the wrenching experiences her family never fully transmitted, and asks what art itself is capable of conveying over time.
PRAISE FOR THE VANISHED COLLECTION
“Riveting … This page-turner will delight art history and mystery fans alike.” —Publishers Weekly
“Undeniably intriguing … memorable and often moving. A fascinating journey to uncover lost family secrets—and treasure.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A charmingly told account of a woman’s quest to reconstruct her great-grandfather’s art collection… Profound and touching.” ―Lynn H. Nicholas, author of The Rape of Europa
“Pauline Baer de Perignon is a natural storyteller―refreshingly honest, curious and open. Like the best memoirists, she manages to tell multiple stories simultaneously, to delicately layer meanings and narratives. Here is not only a riveting art world mystery, but an utterly personal, heartfelt, and extremely intelligent story of a woman doing everything she can to uncover the truths of her family.” ―Menachem Kaiser, author of Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure
“Beautifully evokes a vanished world that once stood at the crossroads between the heights of civilization and the depths of barbarism before being overwhelmed by the latter. The restitution to Pauline Baer de Perignon’s family of one of France’s finest 18th-century masterpieces, through a harrowing process dramatically recounted in this book, goes some way to redeem the cause of civilization.” ―James Gardner, author of The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum
“For decades the lost Jules Strauss collection lay shrouded in mystery. First the Nazi expropriation, followed by the family’s own denial. Finally through determination a great-granddaughter is able to piece together previously buried clues. Pauline Baer’s goal is justice, but an unexpected consequence is a poignant connection with lost family and a keener understanding of history.” — Simon Goodman, author of The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis
“‘Every family has its paradise lost,’ writes Pauline Baer de Perignon. Like the Camondos, the Rothschilds, the Ephrussis and other Jewish families whose art was looted in the war, her heritage is of epic proportions and this account of that past resurfacing today is as moving as it is fascinating. I could not put it down.” —Cécile David-Weill, author of Parents Under the Influence and The Suitors
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pauline Baer de Perignon
has co-authored film scripts
and directed writing workshops
in Paris where she lives.
The Vanished Collection is her first book.