World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Paintings by Adolf Hitler

Article Id: WHEBN0034961320
Reproduction Date:

Title: Paintings by Adolf Hitler  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wolfsschlucht I, Adolf Hitler's private library, Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler, Wolfsschlucht II, Meldemannstraße dormitory
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Paintings by Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi party in Germany in the years leading up to and during World War II, was also a painter.[1] He produced hundreds of works and sold his paintings and postcards to try to earn a living during his Vienna years (1908–1913). However, he was not successful. A number of his paintings were recovered after World War II and have sold at auction for tens of thousands of dollars. Others were seized by the U.S. Army and are still held by the U.S. government.


Artistic ambition

In his autobiography Mein Kampf, Hitler described how, in his youth, he wanted to become a professional artist, but his aspirations were ruined because he failed the entrance exam of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.[2] Hitler was rejected twice by the institute, once in 1907 and again in 1908;[3] the institute considered that he had more talent in architecture than in painting. One of the instructors, sympathetic to his situation and believing he had some talent, suggested that he apply to Academies School of Architecture. However, that would have required returning to secondary school from which he had dropped out and which he was unwilling to do.

Later, when he used to tint and peddle postcards featuring scenes of Vienna, Hitler frequented the artists' cafes in Munich in the unfulfilled hope that established artists might help him with his ambition to paint professionally.

According to a conversation before the outbreak of World War II in August 1939, published in the Blue Book, Hitler told British ambassador Nevile Henderson, "I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist."[2]

Vienna period

From 1908 to 1913, Hitler tinted postcards and painted houses for a living. He painted his first self-portrait in 1910 at the age of 21. This painting, along with twelve other paintings by Hitler, was discovered by Company Sergeant Major Willie J. McKenna in 1945 in Essen, Germany.[3]

Samuel Morgenstern, an Austrian businessman and a business partner of the young Hitler in his Vienna period, bought many of the young Hitler's paintings. According to Morgenstern, Hitler came to him for the first time in the beginning of the 1910s, either in 1911 or in 1912. When Hitler came to Morgenstern's glazier store for the first time, he offered Morgenstern three of his paintings. Morgenstern kept a database of his clientele, through which it had been possible to locate the buyers of young Hitler's paintings. It is found that the majority of the buyers were Jewish. An important client of Morgenstern, a lawyer by the name of Josef Feingold, bought a series of paintings by Hitler depicting old Vienna.[4]

World War I

When Hitler served in World War I at the age of 25 in 1914, he carried his paints with him to the front and spent his idle hours doing art. The works he painted during this period were among his last before he became a politician/dictator. The themes of his wartime painting included farmers' houses, the dressing-station, military nudes etc.

Auction sales

A number of Hitler's paintings were seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. They were taken to the United States with other captured materials and are still held by the U.S. government, which has declined to allow them to be exhibited.[5] Other paintings were kept by private individuals. In the 2000s, a number of these works began to be sold at auction.[6] In 2009 auction house Mullock's of Shropshire sold 15 of Hitler’s paintings for a total of $120,000,[7] while Ludlow’s of Shropshire sold 13 works for over 100,000.[8] In a 2012 auction in Slovakia, an individual painting fetched $42,300.[9]

Critical analysis

According to the weekly news magazine LIFE, which featured Hitler and his paintings in 1936 and 1939, Hitler painted hundreds of works. Some thought Hitler's painting skill was poor; for example because he rarely painted people, the cause of which was speculated by LIFE to be either his unwillingness or lack of skill. His paintings are preoccupied with architecture such as public places, buildings, and farmhouses. Others, however, concluded he "had a modicum of talent." One modern art critic was asked to review some of his paintings without being told who painted them and judged them "quite good". The different style in which he drew human figures, however, the critic said, represented a profound disinterest in people.[10]

According to a report entitled The Water Colours of Hitler: Recovered Art Works: Homage to Rodolfo Siviero, prepared by Fratelli Alinari, Hitler's water colours prove he was "grim" as a painter.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Enzo Colotti; Riccardo Mariani (30 June 2005). The water colours of Hitler: recovered art works : homage to Rodolfo Siviero ; with texts. Fratelli Alinari spa. p. 5.  
  2. ^ a b Adolf Hitler; Max Domarus (1 April 2007). The essential Hitler: speeches and commentary. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. pp. 15–.  
  3. ^ a b Wilkes, David (25 March 2009). "Face of a monster: Self-portrait of Hitler painted when he was just 21 revealed at auction".  
  4. ^ Brigitte Hamann; Hans Mommsen (3 August 2010). Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 356.  
  5. ^ Marc Fisher, "The Art of Evil; Half a century later, the paintings of Adolf Hitler are still a federal case", The Washington Post, Apr. 21, 2002, p. W.26
  6. ^ Ng, David (30 January 2012). "Would you buy this painting by Adolf Hitler?".  
  7. ^ "Hitler's art attracts big sale prices".  
  8. ^ "Hitler paintings sold at British auction house". Deutsche Welle. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Hitler Painting Sold At Auction". NDJ World. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Spotts, Frederic Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics (Overlook TP, 2004) ISBN 978-1-58567-507-4 p.172 See also Adolf Hitler's Paintings

Further reading

External links

  • Hitler's Paintings in German Propaganda Archive
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.