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UK auction house denies Hitler paintings are fake

German daily Die Welt on Monday questioned the authenticity of 13 Adolf Hitler paintings up for auction next month, but Mullock's auction house told The Local they can prove the paintings are from the Nazi dicator.

UK auction house denies Hitler paintings are fake
The painting that Mullock's says is a Hitler self-portrait. Photo: Mullock's

According to the UK auction house, the paintings were found in 1945 by an army sergeant stationed in Essen and later sold to an unknown person. Now, 64 years later, Mullock’s expects to bring in thousands of dollars for the watercolours on April 23.

But the authenticity of the paintings, said to be finished around 1910, is doubtful, the paper said. In one alleged self-portrait of the dictator, there is an ‘X’ marking the face of the subject with the initials “A.H.”

“What kind of painter would put such a marking on his own picture?” Die Welt questioned.

But Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert for Mullock’s auctions, vouched for the authenticity of the watercolours.

”I have no reason to doubt these,” he told The Local on Monday. “I’ve got the certificates and the dockets,” he said, adding that they will be available for public view at the April auction and that he had quizzed his vendors on the paintings’ authenticity on a number of occasions.

Westwood-Brookes said the paintings were confirmed authentic by art historian Peter Jahn from Vienna. “Due to my thorough knowledge of Hitler paintings, I consider this one as an original,” the statement attached to one of the watercolours reads.

Die Welt alleged that there are differences between the Mullock’s paintings and confirmed originals in terms of subject, style and artistry. Two known originals of the Michaelerplatz, an area near the Vienna Hofburg, for example, highlight Hitler’s limited talent as a painter, with awkward perspective points and figures teetering clumsily through the scene, the paper said.

The newest set of paintings shows impressionist depictions of landscapes, along with more skilfully painted human figures of people, making it “very improbable” that the failed artist actually painted them, Die Welt reported.

One explanation may be that they are some of the Hitler “originals” painted by other artists trying to make a buck as he became one of the most prominent politicians in Germany toward the end of the 1920s and into the 1940s. Such paintings brought in up to 10,000 Reichsmarks, the paper said.

Mullock’s does not expect to make much on the sale of Hitler’s artwork, however. “I put very modest estimates on them,” Westwood-Brookes said. “I’ve got estimates of as low as 400 pounds up to 1,000 pounds.” Mullock’s historical expert added that he had been contacted by numerous experts who were “quite content” to bid on the paintings.

“One of the great things about some of the publicity I’ve generated on this is at least everybody has the opportunity to look at them, to make their own mind up,” he said.

Hitler’s lack of artistic talent is well-documented. He applied for the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in October of 1907 as an 18-year-old. From 80 applicants, 28 were taken and Hitler was not one of them. The school said his talent was “insufficient,” and he was “without a doubt unsuitable” for the art school.

Hitler banned the publication of his artwork in 1938.

Auctions of Nazi art and memorabilia are a sensitive issue, and critics have said that selling Hitler’s paintings – which have little artistic merit – may merely glorify the dictator.

But Mullock’s expert Westwood-Brookes responds to criticism highlighting the choice to auction off Hitler artwork by pointing to the historical merits of the works.

“My own standpoint on this is you cannot take a moral stand on history,” he said. “I make it absolutely, unequivocally clear that I am not a Nazi, that I am not involved in glorifying the Nazis and glorifying Hitler.”

The watercolour paintings set to be auctioned by Mullock’s provide a “psychological clue” into Hitler’s mindset, Westwood-Brookes said, calling it “quite incredible” that the future dictator would be interested in such pastoral, romantic subject matter.

CULTURE

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

The holiday of Diwali kicks off on Monday. Here's where you can celebrate all around Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

With over 100,000 Indians in Germany, and over 175,000 people of Indian descent, it’s little wonder that Diwali – the famous five day Hindi festival of lights starting this year on Monday October 24th – is being celebrated all around the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

Even the House of Parliament in Frankfurt is honouring the holiday for the first time with a special reception on October 30th.

Diwali takes its name from the clay lamps or deepa (the event is sometimes called Deepawali) that many Indians light outside their home. With the days shortening in Germany, there’s all the more reason to celebrate light — especially over lively music, traditional dance and authentically spicy Indian cuisine.

We have rounded up some of the top events to celebrate around Germany, both the week of Diwali and afterwards, stretching into mid-November. If you have an additional event to suggest, email us at [email protected]

October 24th in Heidelberg

Happen to be in Heidelberg? Then it’s not too late to head to the Sweet Home Project, which will be cooking up a storm starting at 6:30pm. The menu includes an assortment of Indian sweets and savoury dishes. The collective only asks that participants bring along a candle (and a hearty appetite).

If you miss this event, and are still craving some (really) spicy traditional cuisine, the Firebowl Heidelberg is hosting a Diwali party on October 29th, replete with lots of food and drink and Bollywood beats the whole night. 

October 29th near Frankfurt

For those who fancy a Feier with a full-buffet, this celebration in Dreieich delivers through an all-you-can-eat dinner with traditional fare. Starting at 5pm and stretching into the early hours of the morning, the festive feast includes traditional Bollywood music by Derrick Linco. There’s also a dance party for kids, who receive free admission up to seven years old and €25 up to 14 years. Normal tickets go for €40 per person.

A previous Diwali celebration of traditional dance and music in Dresden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

November 4th near Düsseldorf

On November 4th at 6pm, the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf will be hosting a family-friendly party in nearby Ratingen with classical Indian music and dance, a huge dinner and Bollywood music led by DJ SA-ONE. Tickets cost about €40 each, but children under six receive free entry. 

November 5th in Bonn 

The Indian Students Association of Bonn-Cologne will be hosting its biggest event of the year: for €10, event goers can try an array of Indian food, play classic games and tune into cultural performances. 

READ ALSO: Moving from India to Munich changed my life

November 12th in Essen 

Whether you like traditional bhajans or meditative ragas, this concert will capture many of the classic sounds of Indian music with artists such as Anubhab Tabla Ensemble, Debasish Bhattacharjee and Somnath Karmorak taking center stage. The performance starts at 5pm and costs €10. 

November 12th and 13th in Berlin

Indian food fans will get to enjoy 12 stands devoted to Indian cuisine and products, all coming from the local Indian community. The weekend-long festival will also include stand-up comedy from the Desi Vibes Comedy Group. Karaoke fans will also enjoy singing along with the Sounds of India group, followed by an after party on Saturday. All this only costs €2 at the door. 

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