Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hitler Watercolors at Auction

Vienna State Opera House, Adolf Hitler, 1912
Before Adolph Hitler's rise as the Nazi dictator, he was a struggling art student. During his stay in Vienna between 1908 and 1913, he painted up to three watercolors a day.

Some of those paintings will be auctioned today in Nuremberg, though experts warn that the authorship may be in doubt in some of them, since there are so many forgeries.
"It is difficult not to read Hitler’s crimes back into his artwork, though its mundane and mimetic quality resists such interpretation. The prosaic pieces suggest that his ambitions were once starkly different from what he ultimately carried out, observed Deborah Rothschild, who curated a 2002 exhibit on Hitler’s early years at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts.
“I want to take him down a notch,” she said that summer in an interview about the exhibition. “He’s not an evil genius. He wasn’t born evil. If things had gone his way I think he would have been quite happy to be an academic art professor.”
Read the rest in the Washington Post. 
Wikipedia: Paintings by Adolph Hitler 

4 comments:

Timothy Bollenbaugh said...

Quite a rendering, an accomplishment. But how could I not associate it with the later history? Yes, anything can come of anyone along life's way. But I could not bear its presence. My knowledge characterizes my perception.

But on the note of subjective association: James, you've posted articles concerning AI. Who rendered a work, and why, even just my sense of an artist's endeavor...character plays into my overall perception. Perception is always a composite of afferent and efferent "data". AI isn't an invested person with reason and emotion, but a sophisticated calculator, and quite a tool.

You recently stated that you'd keep your brushes. Please do.

Pardon my stray from the post into what's been milling about a few months.

Martha said...

Not an evil genius? I'd agree with the genius part. I have to object to her idea that things didn't go his way in academia so he became a dictator instead. Good grief!

Glenn said...

If one of his works were anonymous, all the associated emotional context would be missing and as a result, have no impact on the level of appreciation of the art work, good or bad. I find it unfortunate that people cannot seperate the two, it's only human, but it pervades all of our history. Objectively he was an aspiring artist with some talent that may have had a future in that field, his own personal values and peccadilloes may have been not much different at the time to many other artists and there were many with rather eccentric views. His world view appears to have changed markedly post WW1 from what I have read. Now however, what remains of his work as an artist shall always be have an association which will forever colour its appreciation in a negative way but also generates great demand due to it being the closest any of us will ever physically get to such a historical figure of such notoriety.

Penn Tomassetti said...

I find it interesting the way people in general try to comprehend the two opposite results of Hitler's life. On the one hand he could produce beautiful work, as we all can, while on the other hand he produced some of the ugliest atrocities in world history. The same goes for other tyrants.

This is where we see the truth in a statement like, "Worldviews matter." It makes a practical difference which ideas a person embraces and believes. Beliefs govern every aspect of life. Some are more aware than others of this.

Like every human life, Hitler was made in the good and beautiful image of the Creator, and like everyone else, he was tempted and drawn toward darkness. In his case, that darkness was a belief that some lives do not have worth and should be aborted by force. This belief combined with the power and influence to carry it out resulted in destruction of many lives who, contrary to his world view, actually were created with exactly the same human status as he was. It is part of the sad story of human total depravity and highlights that all people need rescuing from darkness. Not all would do what he did, but all have the same ability to embrace wrong ideas about human life.