The Shmooze

Hitler Paintings Could Pull in Big Money at Auction

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

The historical significance of paintings by Adolf Hitler is obvious. And a new cache of watercolors by der führer — discovered by an Austrian lawyer on an estate he recently bought — is expected to fetch nearly a quarter of a million dollars at an auction on September 30.

What’s more interesting about the tableaux, however, “is their subjects,” according to Richard Westwood-Brookes, whose Mullocks auction house, based in Shropshire, United Kingdom, will put the works up for bid. “Here we have a man who went on to be one of the most evil and violent tyrants in history — and yet the subjects he chose in his early years were romantic landscapes, studies of flowers and other subjects which are essentially peaceful,” Westwood-Brookes told the Forward in an e-mail.

“If you showed one of these to someone who did not know it was painted by Hitler, they would probably conclude that it was painted by a romantic young man with his thoughts and intentions very much in the clouds,” Westwood-Brookes wrote. “And yet, 30 years later this romantic became a mass murderer responsible for destroying half the world.”

While media reports have focused on the Hitler paintings, the sale, Westwood-Brookes wrote, “is a general historical documents sale, which covers from early Medieval to the present day.”

“We are definitely not in the business of glorifying Hitler and the Nazis, and indeed if you have a look at the sale as a whole you will see that I always carry material to do with the Holocaust so that there is no question left in anyone’s minds as to the evil of the Nazis and what they did,” he wrote.

Historians have speculated that Hitler’s 1907 rejection by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, to which he’d applied as an 18-year-old aspiring painter, was a pivotal moment in his life — and may have fueled the rage that consumed him later.

Westwood-Brookes, however, wonders if “the fey landscapes depicted in these paintings hide the true psychotic maniac that was always lurking beneath.”

Westwood-Brookes said he has been the subject of “vicious” calls and e-mails from people “who assume rather stupidly that I am some sort of neo-Nazi — which I find somewhat irritating, as my father fought valiantly against the Nazis during WWII and suffered for the rest of his life as a result.”

The auction will take place at Ludlow Racecourse, Shrops.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, United Kingdom, Shropshire, Mullocks, Richard Westwood-Brookes, Adolf Hitler

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.