My Grandfather’s Gallery: A Family Memoir of Art and War

Written by Anne Sinclair Shaun Whiteside (trans.)
Review by Monica E. Spence

In this nonfiction book, Anne Sinclair tells the story of her grandfather, Paul Rosenberg. In 1940, like so many other Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-controlled Vichy France, Rosenberg and his family landed in New York with few possessions, leaving behind their homes, property and possessions to be plundered by Nazi greed. Unlike many refugees, Rosenberg was a world-famous art dealer, patron and collector, who left behind modern masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne. After discovering a box of Rosenberg’s letters, Sinclair reconstructed not only the history of her family, but also the fate of the paintings left behind at 21, rue La Boétie. This is an intimate retelling of the history of modern art, of the people behind the legendary names, of the world gone mad with hatred, jealousy and fear. It shows Paul Rosenberg and his family not just as titans of the art world, but as people trying to make the best of the unexpected circumstances of history. An excellent book which reads more like a novel than a distant biography, highly recommended to all lovers of history and art.