Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

Hitler watercolours auctioned in Berlin

Three watercolour paintings attributed to the former German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler are being auctioned in Berlin.

The separate works depict a mountain scene, a river and a distant figure sat beneath a tree.

The watercolours were created in the early 20th Century while Hitler, later guilty of some of the worst crimes in history, worked as a painter in Munich.

Auctioneers said that while they had “no artistic value”, the pictures could sell for thousands of euros.

Strong demand is expected from online bidders in the UK, Scandinavia, the US and Russia.

The paintings’ elderly sellers reportedly did not want to be identified.

“If you walk down the Seine and see 100 artists, 80 will be better than this,” Heinz-Joachim Maeder, a spokesperson for the Kloss auction house in Berlin, told Reuters.

“The value of these objects and the media interest is because of the name at the bottom,” he added.

Before World War One, in which he fought, Hitler worked in Vienna as a casual labourer and an artist, drawing postcards and paintings.

He was twice rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

In his book Mein Kampf, he claimed to have produced as many as three paintings a day.

While in power, Hitler allegedly ordered the collection and destruction of his artworks, but several hundred are known to still exist.

In Germany, it is legal to sell pictures by Hitler so long as they do not contain Nazi symbols.

Many are held by the US Army, which confiscated them at the end of World War Two. The collection has never been exhibited.

Others are held in the private collections of individuals and institutions. One of the largest is housed at the International Museum of World War II in the US.

In 2014, a watercolour of a registry office in Munich sold for €130,000 ($148,000) at an auction in Nuremberg, southern Germany. The picture came with a bill of sale and a signed letter by Nazi military commander Albert Bormann.

Others have been auctioned for lower amounts. Mullock’s of Shropshire sold a collection of 13 artworks in 2009 for €130,000. All were signed: A. Hitler.

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