The historical significance of paintings by Adolf Hitler is obvious. And a new cache of watercolors by der führer — discovered by an Austrian lawyer on an estate he recently bought — is expected to fetch nearly a quarter of a million dollars at an auction on September 30.
What’s more interesting about the tableaux, however, “is their subjects,” according to Richard Westwood-Brookes, whose Mullocks auction house, based in Shropshire, United Kingdom, will put the works up for bid. “Here we have a man who went on to be one of the most evil and violent tyrants in history — and yet the subjects he chose in his early years were romantic landscapes, studies of flowers and other subjects which are essentially peaceful,” Westwood-Brookes told the Forward in an e-mail.
“If you showed one of these to someone who did not know it was painted by Hitler, they would probably conclude that it was painted by a romantic young man with his thoughts and intentions very much in the clouds,” Westwood-Brookes wrote. “And yet, 30 years later this romantic became a mass murderer responsible for destroying half the world.”
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