Loras College, along with the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA), will host Jim Welu, director emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, MA, at two upcoming events. The first is from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at the DuMA, 701 Locust St. The second will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, at the Alumni Campus Center (ACC) Ballroom. A native of Dubuque and a 1966 graduate of Loras, Welu was on campus this past weekend celebrating his 50th anniversary of graduation.
At the DuMA on Sunday, Welu will give a presentation on Johannes (Jan) Vermeer, a Dutch painter, titled “Vermeer’s Mania for Maps.” Vermeer was an artist from the 17th century who painted scenes of families and middle-class life. Welu wrote his doctoral dissertation on Vermeer and his contribution to the art world.
At Loras on Monday, Welu will present “The Monuments Men: Heroes at Home and Away.” The Monuments Men have been in the news as of late, with George Clooney starring in a 2014 Hollywood adaptation inspired by a book of that title. The book, movie and true story are all based on the group of museum directors, curators, artists and architects during World War II who helped to protect and preserve artifacts and art masterpieces from the Nazis. The Nazis stole thousands of works of art from museums, churches and private collectors. Welu, as the Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, will describe and connect the heroic efforts of four Monuments Men to the Worcester Art Museum: three directors, including George Stout (Clooney’s character), and a curator who helped rescue Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” This lecture also will include the previously untold stories about the methods taken to protect works here in America, especially at museums such as Worcester. Museums such as this were thought to be particularly at risk for destruction because of Worcester’s participation in the production of various industries to support the country’s efforts in the war.
Loras hosted a showing of “The Monuments Men” film from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in the Arizona Room inside the ACC. The library has two copies of the movie available for checkout and two books related to the topic for anyone who was unable to attend the showing of the film. George Clooney plays the character of George Stout, who was renamed Frank Stokes for the movie. Stout, the head of the Monuments Men in Europe and later Japan during WWII, was born in Winterset, IA, and was a graduate of the University of Iowa. After the war, Stout was director of the Worcester Art Museum, the same museum Jim Welu directed for many years.