German Propaganda Archive

 

Background: Hitler often claimed to be something of a frustrated artist, and art was certainly one of his major interests throughout his life. He probably sold several thousand paintings and postcards during his stay in Vienna, some of which turn up even today. Hitler himself made no great claims to greatness as a painter (architecture was something else....). There was a thriving market for his paintings during the Third Reich — and even today, there are eager collectors.

The best book on the matter is Frederic Spotts’s Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics, which takes Hitler’s artistic side seriously. Spotts comments: “He had a modicum of talent —— at least in sketching buildings —— but what technique he learned he picked up on his own. Like most amateurs, he began by painting simple landscapes. With neither innate originality nor professional training, he went on to imitate the watercolors and prints of the south German school and the postcard scenes —— everyday urban views —— that were popular at the time..... Moreover, he had to paint the sort of thing that an unknown and untalented amateur might be able to sell, and that was inexpensive reproductions of familiar places” (p. 125). Spotts’s book also has color reproductions of four of Hitler’s paintings.

These illustrations of Hitler’s art are taken from a coffee table book on Hitler published during the Third Reich, several million copies of which were printed, from a 1935 set of prints published by Heinrich Hoffmann, and from a recent art auction of Hitler’s paintings.

The source: Adolf Hitler: Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers (Hamburg: Cigaretten Bilderdienst Hamburg/Bahrenfeld, 1936) and Adolf Hitler Aquarelle (Munich: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1935).



Hitler’s Paintings


Hitler painting
This painting is titled “Carnations.” I think it was painted during Hitler’s Vienna days.
Hitler painting
“Flowers”: Another painting from the Vienna days.
Hitler painting
“Prague in Fog”: This, too, has to be pre-1914.
Hitler painting
St. Charles’s Church in Vienna, again pre-1914.
Hitler painting
This 1914 painting is titled: “The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich.”
Hitler painting
This painting, also from 1914, is titled “Ruins of a Cloister in Messines.”
Hitler painting
“Shelter in Fournes,” probably 1915.
Hitler Painting
The title of this undated painting: “House with a White Fence” from about 1915.
Hitler painting
“Fromelles” from about 1915.
Hitler painting
“Haubourdin,” dated 15 June 1916.
Hitler painting
“Ardoye in Flanders,” dated 27 June 1917.
Hitler painting
This painting is of the City Hall in Hildesheim. This makes me curious, as I don’t think Hitler spent that much time there. I use the image with permission from a 2012 catalog from Alexander Autographs. They are confident that it is genuine (although their guess that it is a building in Munich is in error). See their catalog for details.


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