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While media reports have focused on the Hitler paintings, the sale, Westwood-Brookes wrote, “is a general historical documents sale, which covers from early Medieval to the present day.”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!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.