Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Paintings by Adolf Hitler: 40 Rarely Seen Artworks Painted by the Führer from the 1910s

Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party in Germany in the years leading up to and during World War II, was also a painter. He produced hundreds of works and sold his paintings and postcards to try to earn a living during his Vienna years (1908–13). A number of his paintings were recovered after World War II and have been sold at auctions for tens of thousands of dollars. Others were seized by the U.S. Army and are still held by the U.S. government.

Hitler’s style was very calculated when representing architecture in his paintings. Instead of progressing in his artistic influence, his works copied the artists of the nineteenth century and many of the masters preceding him. He claimed to be the synthesis of many artistic movements but it is clear that he drew primarily from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and Neoclassicism. He liked the technical ability of these artists, as well as the understandable symbolism. Rudolf von Alt was his greatest “teacher”, as he called him. There is similar use in color and subject matter between the two, but Alt displays fantastical landscapes giving equal—if not more—attention to nature and the surrounding environment than the architecture.

In his autobiography Mein Kampf, Adolf 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. Hitler was rejected twice by the institute, once in 1907 and again in 1908. In his first examination, he had passed the preliminary portion; which was to draw two of the assigned iconic or Biblical scenes, in two sessions of three hours each. The second portion was to provide a previously prepared portfolio for the examiners. It was noted that Hitler’s works contained “too few heads”. 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 the academy's 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 in August 1939 before the outbreak of World War II, published in the British War 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."










































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