International Campaign for Real History

July 6, 1999Swastika
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Early Hitler works found in Iran



TWO previously unknown watercolours apparently by Adolf Hitler have been found in Iran, adding to the Führer's substantial oeuvre of mediocre town portraits and landscapes.

The signed pictures showing monuments and buildings in Vienna were said to have been presented by the Nazi leader to Hassan Esfandiari, the Iranian Ambassador in Berlin, in gratitude for Tehran's support of the German cause. The signature, A. Hitler, has been written differently in each painting. The frames carry the words "Adolf Hitler, 20.4.1889 to 30.4.1945".

The two pictures, which each measure about 24in by 20in, are believed to have been painted in Vienna in 1911 or 1912, when Hitler was in his early twenties and dreaming of a career as an artist.

The Iranian news agency INRA reported that the paintings are the property of the Bonyad Montazana Foundation, which administers estates confiscated after the overthrow of the Shah. The agency said yesterday that the paintings had been authenticated by two Western experts.

It is unlikely that the works would fetch more than a few thousand pounds at auction, but they could, however, contribute to an historical rather than an aesthetic debate about Hitler as a young man. His paintings of Vienna - usually copied from photographs - were done, as he himself admitted, in the spirit of "a confectioner composing a cake for a customer or as a baker prepares his rolls for somebody else's breakfast".

Hitler twice failed entry examinations for the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and his work was sold to order to gallery owners whose interest was in the ornate golden frames rather than the drab pictures.

Hitler's rendering of Vienna's Rotunda

Tourists and furniture shops also bought his work, which was peddled by his friend Reinhold Hanisch. Both men were able to live on the proceeds of sales of Hitler's work and Hanisch urged Hitler to paint a picture a day in order to meet their costs. When Hitler came to power he was praised as a great painter, and his work sold for high prices to the Nazi faithful.

Hanisch, who later fell out with Hitler, tried to sell faked Hitler paintings in the early 1930s: the Führer's work is remarkably easy to imitate. Hanisch and others who were involved in selling Hitler's paintings subsequently died while under arrest.

Some of those who lived in the Vienna working men's hostel in which Hitler stayed claim that the future dictator was himself a forger, baking paintings to give them the look of aged, valuable works.

Historians are fascinated by the dynamics of the rather murky chapter of Hitler's life in the Vienna hostel since the period of his painting may have coincided with the formulation of his anti-Semitic prejudices.

Caricature of David Irving
DAVID IRVING comments: if I were wealthy, I would put my chequebook away. Hitler never, but
NEVER, gave his paintings away, least of all to diplomats whom he might have wanted to impress. He expressed himself wittily in conversation in 1944 with Heinrich Hoffmann, his photographer (a verbatim note exists of their talk) about people who were offering large sums of money for his artistic products.

© Focal Point 1999 e-mail:  write to David Irving