Elizabeth Campbell

Elizabeth Campbell

Associate Professor

What I do

Associate Professor of History Director, Center for Art Collection Ethics (ACE)

Professional Biography

I teach courses in modern European and French history, including the French Revolution, Europe during the World Wars, Nazi art looting, and seminars on the history and memory of World War II in France and the Algerian war of independence. My first book, Defending National Treasures: French Art and Heritage under Vichy, (Stanford University Press, 2011), examines French cultural policy during the German occupation, including the Vichy regime's reaction to Nazi looting of Jewish art collections. Drawing on research in French archives, I argue that curators and museum directors aimed to acquire plundered works permanently for the Louvre and other state-run museums, complicating an enduring narrative of anti-Nazi Resistance in the fine arts administration.

My current book project, provisionally titled Museum Worthy: Nazi-Era Art in Postwar Western Europe, focuses on the Allied recovery of plundered art, comparing restitution practices in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In all three cases, postwar governments held unclaimed works for display in state-run museums, setting the stage for controversy and litigation in the 1990s, and ongoing cultural property disputes. (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Recognizing the importance of provenance research and the ongoing need for training of current and future museum professionals, in the spring of 2017 I began developing plans for The Center for Art Collection Ethics (ACE), in consultation with DU faculty and staff in related programs. I have served as Director since April 2018. We promote ethical art collection stewardship through social media and on-campus training programs.

Visit us at https://www.du.edu/ahss/art-collection-ethics/index.html, and follow us @UofDenver_ACE. Follow me @prof_ecampbell.


  • Ph.D., History and French Studies, New York University, 2002
  • MA, French Studies, New York University, 1997
  • BS, International Relations, Georgetown University, 1992

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association
  • Society for French Historical Studies
  • Western Society for French History

Media Sources


History and legacy of Nazi art looting, postwar Allied art recovery and restitution, politics of memory in twentieth-century Europe.

Featured Publications

  • What's Wrong with this Picture: Casual Disregard of History in George Clooney's The Monuments Men (2014)
  • Defending National Treasures: French Art and Heritage under Vichy
  • Recycling French Heroes: The Destruction of Bronze Statues under the Vichy Regime
  • Le patrimoine artistique sous Vichy
  • Rethinking Memory: the Musees de France and Jewish Art Collections in France, 1940 to the Present


  • Monuments Woman: Anne O. Popham and British Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art
  • Monuments Women and Men: Rethinking Cultural Recovery, 1945-53
  • Heroism Real, Missed and Imagined in George Clooney's The Monuments Men
  • Museum Worthy: Ownerless Art in Postwar France
  • Contested Patrimony: The Schloss Art Collection


  • Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Public Impact Fellow, University of Denver