Was Hitler a good painter

Hitler over the sofa: art by the "F├╝hrer" goes under the hammer in an auction in Nuremberg

DW: Ms. Weidler, what exactly is going under the hammer at your auction?

There are pictures signed with A. Hitler and monogrammed. We have 22 positions, one of which contains an album in which five pictures have been pasted.

Which is your favorite picture?

There is no answer to the question. Below is a picture from the catalog of works that shows the Wiener Brandst├Ątte (a square-like street connection between Stephansplatz and Tuchlauben in Vienna's old town, editor's note). That could be interesting for a collector who would like to have a picture from this catalog of works.

Was Hitler a good painter? He considered himself an "artistic genius" ...

According to the catalog of his works, he described himself as an artist until 1920. And we cannot make any contribution to the question of genius, because we only see the works that are of different quality.

He had different phases of painting. Has he developed his own style there?

No, not. He tried it out, painted pictures, painted postcards, painted motifs that were simply bought with pleasure - the Munich registry office, for example.

What security do buyers have that they are buying an original from you?

We have some photos with expert reports, partly from August Priesack, the editor of the catalog of works (the historian Prof. Dr. August Priesack worked in the main archive of the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP in the 1930s and provided the basis for the catalog of works by the American publisher Billy Price / Editor's note). There are pictures that we found in the catalog of works in the same or very similar form. That means: We can show our customers the picture that is only contained in the catalog of works with a small change.

Have you checked the work for authenticity?

We have illuminated them. And we took these pictures because we believe that they come from Hitler.

Where do the pictures come from? Who are the consignors?

We have different consignors. They come from Austria, from Germany. There are consignors who have simply inherited it and no longer want to have it in the safe deposit box. They are private individuals, for example also a pastor's household, whose collection was only found after the catalog of works was drawn up and is therefore unfortunately not included.

Who collects Hitler pictures? Are these all old Nazis?

No way. Among the buyers we have collectors who want a piece of world history. There are customers from all over the world, including a museum in Brazil.

What drives these collectors?

Hard to say. I also don't know whether they are looking for a motif or for a piece that is in the catalog of works where the collector can say: 'I have a picture that has been proven to come from the book.' There are customers who want a Viennese motif. Or those that only interest Munich.

There are probably many who paint Munich motifs, but a few who are then also called Adolf Hitler ...?

Yes that's right.

Ms. Weidler, there is no reference to the auction of Adolf Hitler's pictures on your website. Is the hype around the Hitler art auction too much for you?

Our catalogs are online. Of course, there is a great deal of media interest in individual collections of well-known personalities. So we bundle this into an annual auction, where - as now - we offer 22 lots.

Are you happy about the publicity? Or rather not?

For an auction house, media interest is of course always good. But in this context we are extremely sensitive and want to be neutral about it. The customer who owns these images wants to sell them. See you between seller and buyer. There is this historical legacy in Nuremberg. We try to deal with it in the best possible way. But when it comes to media and auctions, we're professionals.

 

The interview was conducted by DW editor Stefan Dege