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Robert Edsel Author

#1 New York Times

Best-selling Author of 

The Monuments Men

Robert Edsel is recognized today as one of the world’s foremost advocates for art preservation. While living in Florence, he developed a great passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the Monuments Men and Women, and share their remarkable stories with a global audience. His second book, The Monuments Men, has been translated into more than thirty languages.


The astonishing true story of 11 Monuments Men and one Monuments Woman is brought for the first time to young readers in a sweeping, dynamic, narrative nonfiction project packed with photos detailing history's greatest treasure hunt.

The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

During the last year of World War II, the fate of Italy and its priceless art treasures hang in the balance. One man, the second highest-ranking Nazi SS General, controls the art, using it as a bargaining chip in a life or death game of poker to avoid war crimes trials and the hangman’s noose. The other, an American college professor and artist serving as a Monuments Man, risks his life to find the art and return it to Italy.

Saving Italy

The dramatic true story of ten men and one woman, the most unlikely of spies, in a race against time to save the world’s most treasured works of art and other cultural treasures from the destruction of war and theft by Hitler and the Nazis.

Monuments Men

The "untold story of the 'Monuments Men'" in photos and their discovery of more than 1,000 repositories filled with millions of items including paintings, sculptures, furniture, archives and other treasures stolen during WWII by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Rescuing DaVinci


Hunting Nazi Treasure

This eight-part investigative documentary series, funded by History Channel-Canada, chronicles the greatest theft in history and present-day efforts to locate valuable objects and artwork stolen by the Nazis and return them to the rightful owners.

The Monuments Men Movie

Academy Award® winner George Clooney assembled an all-star cast for his film adaptation of Robert M. Edsel's book, The Monuments Men, including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman.

The Greatest Theft in History

A 3 disc DVD centers around the Emmy-nominated documentary, The Rape of Europa, and includes seven additional hours of interviews of first hand participants including Monuments Officers, art restitution experts and claimants, along with extraordinary tours of some of the world’s most important museums.


Robert Edsel draws on his past experiences as a competitive tennis player and later the founder of Gemini Exploration, an oil and gas company that pioneered the use of horizontal drilling technology, to speak to audiences on a variety of lecture topics. He has spoken before more than 65,000 people these past twenty years. Presentations are customized to suit the needs and interests of each audience. Lively Q&A sessions are a hallmark of his engagements.


After testing the waters as an aspiring professional tennis player, Robert Edsel shifted careers and built from the ground up a successful oil and gas exploration company that pioneered the use of horizontal drilling.


Seventeen years later, he sold the company to pursue his interest in art and architecture, a decision that lead to his discovery of the Monuments Men story.


Robert founded the Monuments Men and Women Foundation (formerly the Foundation for the Preservation of Art) to honor the remarkable legacy of these men and women. His work has resulted in numerous honors including the National Humanities Medal, the United States of America’s highest honor for work in the humanities, presented by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony.


Robert Edsel has written four books, published two others, co-produced the Emmy®-nominated documentary film "The Rape of Europa", consulted with George Clooney on his film production, "The Monuments Men", based on his second book, and has served as the Executive Producer and on-air host of an acclaimed television series, "Hunting Nazi Treasure".


Robert travels frequently as a speaker introducing the story of the Monuments Men and Women through multi-media presentations to audiences throughout the United States and Western Europe as well as to men and women in uniform. He has served on various not-for-profit boards, including The National WWII Museum and St. Mark’s School of Texas.

Monuments Men and Women Foundation

The Monuments Men and Women Foundation (formerly Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art) is a not-for-profit organization created to raise worldwide awareness about the service of the Monuments Men and Women and to honor them for their achievements.


In 2007, at a White House ceremony, President George Bush awarded the Foundation the National Humanities Medal, the highest honor in the United States for work in the humanities.


In October 2015, after nine years of work, the Foundation fulfilled a major goal with the passage of a bill in Congress, quickly signed into law by President Barack Obama, awarding the Monuments Men and Women of all fourteen nations the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States of America. Throughout the years, Robert found and interviewed 21 Monuments Men and Women. Only one of them is living today.

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