After posting Part #1 of Graffiti Wars yesterday, with more to come, I have decided that the rest of this week and next weekend will be Art Week.
Next up: The Art of Adolf Hitler
Had Hitler been accepted to art school, world history may have been totally different.
Hitler twice applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, in 1907 and 1908, but twice failed the entrance exam. One of the instructors thought he had talent in architecture and recommended that he apply for that course but because it meant completing secondary school, from which he had dropped out, he was unwilling to do so.
From 1908-1913, “the Vienna period”, he tinted and sold postcards in Vienna and carried out sketches and watercolours, as well as painting houses. He frequented the artists’ cafes to get instruction and advice.
The period 1913-1914, “the Munich period”, saw him painting a great deal more and with increased control and ability.
He painted his first self portrait in 1910 at age 21. This painting, along with twelve other paintings by Hitler, was discovered by Company Sergeant Major Willie J. McKenna in 1945 in Essen, Germany.
During the Vienna period, Hitler also painted watercolours of Vienna scenes, selling many to a businessman, Samiel Morgenstern, who then onsold them. From his meticulous records it has been determined that most of the buyers were Jewish.
Hitler took his brushes and paints with him when serving on the front during World War 1, painting scenes of farmers’ houses, often damaged, always deserted, and dressing stations. As in his paintings before the war, there are rarely human figures. The WW1 works are cruder and more abstract than his earlier works. The war paintings are his last works before he turned to politics.
In 1939 prior to the outbreak of World War, 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."
Opinions on his skills as a painter are divided. It is unknown whether his unwillingness to paint people was psychological or because of lack of skill.
A number of Hitler's paintings were seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II and were taken to the United States with other captured materials. They are still held by the U.S. government, which has declined to allow them to be exhibited. Other paintings were kept by private individuals.
In the 2000s, a number of these works began to be sold at auction. In 2009 auction house Mullock's of Shropshire sold 15 of Hitler’s paintings for a total of $120,000, while Ludlow’s of Shropshire sold 13 works for over €100,000. In a 2012 auction in Slovakia, an individual painting fetched $42,300.
First self portrait, 1910:
Alter Werderthor Wien
Ardoye in Flanders
Flower Blossom Study
Informal Dining Room Long View
Perchtoldsdorg Castle and Church
Ruins of a Cloister in Messines
Shelter in Fournes
The Hermann’s New Millhouse
The Munich Opera House
The Arch of Triumph, Munich
The Courtyard at The Old Residency, Munich
Town Scene with Unusual Store Sign Post”