The Monuments Men

Back to The Monuments Men | de Beaufort, Jhr. René François Paul

René François Paul de Beaufort ( 1889-1969 )

René François Paul de Beaufort served as Chief Liaison Officer to the Netherlands at the Munich Central Collecting Point. His appointment by the Dutch government in April 1946 came on the heels of the departure of his predecessor, Monuments Man Lt. Col. Alphonsus P. A. Vorenkamp. In the years prior, Vorenkamp had compiled extensive lists of works of art and other cultural objects looted from the Netherlands by the Nazis. Armed with these lists, de Beaufort and his fellow Dutch Liaison Officers worked tirelessly to locate every possible object in numerous looted art repositories.

In October 1946 de Beaufort spent a week in Salzburg, Austria interrogating individuals suspected of possessing Dutch looted art. His efforts produced useful information that was utilized by the Dutch Restitution Mission to track down more missing objects. The following month, he accepted the return of the painting “Judgment of Midos” by Moses van Uytenbroeck. The painting’s movements during the war mirrored so many other paintings looted from their home countries by the Nazis. At the beginning of the war, it was acquired by Hans Posse, Hitler’s special envoy tasked with acquiring works for the Führermuseum in Linz, Austria. The painting was subsequently stored in the salt mine at Altaussee, where it was later discovered by the Monuments Men and transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point for identification by de Beaufort and his Dutch colleagues. De Beaufort orchestrated numerous similar restitutions, including the August 1947 transfer of eight paintings, two Greek sculptures, and a Louis XV chest, all of which were also recovered from Altaussee.

De Beaufort later became Commissioner General for the Netherlands Economic Recuperation, remaining a tireless advocate for the return of Dutch-owned art until at least November 1948.

The Foundation is very interested in learning more about de Beaufort’s life. If you have any information, please contact abottinelli@monumentsmenfoundation.org.