To have a scandalous dark reputation is not enough to be a great painter, the auctionists say. Adolf Hitler’s five watercolours said to have been painted by Adolf Hitler have failed to sell at auction in Nuremberg, the German city once notorious for Hitler’s political activities in the 1920s.
Despite the success of 2015 auction when the Weidler auction house sold more than a dozen paintings attributed to Hitler for almost €400,000, this year, the event wasn’t too good for the auction. Since then, the sale of Nazi leader’s memorabilia remains a divisive topic around the world, while the main reason is not an ideology but “no artistic value”, auctioneers said.
Last week, Hitler’s paintings failed to sell in Nuremberg, possibly over fears they could be fake, said the experts. Accusations of forgery marred the auction and city mayor Ulrich Maly described it as being in “bad taste”.
The sale also included items said to have been owned by the dictator, including a vase and a wicker chair with a swastika on its arm. After almost a century after bloody Nazi’s activity, public displays of Nazi symbols are against the law in Germany, the exceptions are educational or historical reasons.
The Nuremberg auction house got around the law by pixelating the symbols within their catalogue.
What controversial did the auction firms face?
Hitler, who was twice rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, is known to have sold his artwork in his youth, but sales of his paintings purporting to be from the German dictator regularly generate controversy and accusations of forgery.
Last month German police seized a collection due to go on sale in Berlin over concerns over their authenticity, and dozens of works attributed to Hitler, which were regarded by art experts as being of poor quality, have been sold over the years.