Hitler Paintings Go Unsold at Auction

“Then Hashem said to Moshe, “Inscribe this in a document as a reminder, and read it aloud to Yehoshua: I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven!” Exodus 17:14 (The Israel Bible™)

Five paintings attributed to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler went unsold at an auction in Nuremberg, Germany. The most expensive painting, a mountain view, was offered at a starting bid of $51,000. In addition to the paintings, a wicker chair featuring a swastika symbol was offered by the Weidler auction house in the controversial auction but the chair also remained unsold. Prices on Nazi memorabilia are on the rise as are prices for other paintings attributed to Hitler.

“There’s a long tradition of this trade in devotional objects linked to Nazism,” Stephan Klingen of the Central Institute for Art History in Munich told AFP. “Every time there’s a media buzz about it… and the prices they’re bringing in have been rising constantly. Personally, that’s something that quite annoys me.”

A watercolor attributed to Hitler of Munich’s old city hall sold for $137,000s in 2014.

The lack of buyers may have been due to difficulty authenticating the objects’ authenticity rather than any compunction in owning objects associated with the Nazi leader. Several of the objects that were supposed to go on sale were removed from the sale a few days before the auction due to difficulty in authentication.

Prosecutors on Wednesday collected 63 artworks from the Weidler premises bearing the signature “A.H.” or “A. Hitler”, including some not intended to be auctioned.

Nuremberg-Fuerth prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation against persons unknown “on suspicion of falsifying documents and attempted fraud”, chief prosecutor Antje Gabriels-Gorsolke told AFP. “If they turn out to be fakes, we will then try to determine who knew what in the chain of ownership,” she said.

Ironically, Nuremberg was the city in which many of the Nazi leaders were tried after the war in 1945. Before World War I, young Hitler was an unsuccessful artist in Austria.  He is thought to have produced approximately 2,000 pictures and most art critics consider his work to be mediocre at best.

According to Klingen, Hitler had the style of “a moderately ambitious amateur” but his artwork was similar to that of “hundreds of thousands” of other works from the period. This makes authenticating Hitler’s painting difficult.