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Louis Bancel LaFarge

 (1900 - 1989)
Louis Bancel LaFarge was active/lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts / Switzerland, France.  Louis LaFarge is known for Beaux Arts style architecture.

Louis Bancel LaFarge

    lah FARZH  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Louis Bancel LaFarge ( 1900-1989 )

New York architect Bancel LaFarge served as Chief of the MFAA section of the Seventh Army under General Lucius Clay, Deputy Military Governor of Germany. Arriving the week after D-Day, LaFarge was the first Monuments Men* officer in France. In his first assignment, he quickly covered the small amount of Allied territory around Bayeaux, assessing damage to monuments and works of art, and discovered that the famous Bayeaux Tapestry* had been moved to the ch√Ęteau at Sourches for safekeeping.

In the months that followed, LaFarge recovered hundreds more artworks, oversaw the development of the Collecting Points in Munich and elsewhere, and supervised a staff of officers dedicated to the salvage of Europe's cultural treasures. As Chief of the MFAA, LaFarge also dealt with the insurgence of officers displeased with the American removal of 202 German-owned artworks from the Wiesbaden Collecting Point. 32 MFAA officers signed or supported the "Wiesbaden Manifesto," as it became known; a document explaining why they thought the removal of the paintings would be highly unethical. LaFarge agreed with their sentiments, but tried to protect his officers by not releasing the document and taking full responsibility.

Col. McBride, National Gallery of Art administrator, informed him that the officers would be court-martialed if they disobeyed the orders of Gen. Clay. In order to protect the paintings from damage that might be incurred by military personnel unfamiliar with handling such valuable objects, LaFarge eventually arranged for Monuments officer Lamont Moore to oversee the packing and shipment of the artworks. Although the works were removed and transported for "safekeeping" to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., they were nevertheless returned to Germany three years later. Without doubt, the sentiments expressed in the Wiesbaden Manifesto combined with the united front of Monuments Men, including LaFarge, were responsible for the ultimate return of the paintings.

For his service to the MFAA, LaFarge received honors from the United States, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands. LaFarge's father and grandfather, both named John LaFarge, were noted American artists.

A graduate of Harvard and Yale Architectural School, he resumed his career as an architect following World War II. Most famous for his residential designs, LaFarge was fond of the Beaux Arts* style early in his career, later moving on to the modified contemporary and English manor styles. His work can be seen in homes across New York, the Hamptons, Charleston, S.C., and at the Caneel Bay resort on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

LaFarge served as president of the Municipal Art Society, the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and was a founding member of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

"The Monuments Men:Louis Bancel LaFarge (1900-1989)", The Monuments Men,

* For references for these terms and others, see AskART Glossary

Biography from the Archives of askART
Following is The New York Times obituary of Louis Bancel LaFarge

L. B. La Farge, 89, an Architect
Published: July 04, 1989
L. Bancel La Farge, an architect, president of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects from 1958 to 1960 and a founding member of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, died Sunday at his home in Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa. He was 89 years old.

Louis Bancel La Farge, a tall, cultivated man, specialized in designing homes, first in the Beaux Arts style and later in modified contemporary and English country manor styles. He designed residences in Charlestown, S.C., the Hamptons on Long Island, the Hudson Valley in New York and in the New Haven area. He also shaped the Caneel Bay resort in the Virgin Islands.

Mr. La Farge, a grandson of John La Farge, the noted painter, was born in Boston and grew up in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Paris. He was a graduate of the Choate School, Harvard College and the Yale Architectural School.

During World War II, he served on Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's general staff as chief of the monuments, fine arts and archives section. After the war, Major La Farge was decorated by the United States, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia for supervising the return of art works looted by the Nazis and stored in more than 500 sites in American-occupied Germany.

He was president of the Municipal Art Society of New York from 1954 to 1956, a director of the executive committee of the American Arbitration Association from 1961 to 1969, a member of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1965 to 1970 and chairman of the Historic Districts Commission for Nantucket, Mass., from 1971 to 1976.

Surviving are his wife, the former Margaret Hockaday; two sons, Timothy, of Atlanta, and Benjamin, of Barrytown, N.Y.; a daughter, Celestine La Farge Nicolas of the Netherlands, and five grandsons.

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About  Louis Bancel LaFarge

Born:  1900 - Boston, Massachusetts
Died:   1989 - Newtown, Pennsylvania
Known for:  Beaux Arts style architecture