Artworks by Adolf Hitler could bring £100,000

Before his infamous political career Adolf Hitler had the more sensitive job of an artist - though not a particularly good one. He was unable to gain entrance to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, having been rejected twice due to the low opinion a reviewer took of his portfolio.

Nevertheless, he was quite prolific. He painted roughly a thousand works in the years leading up to the First World War, often with moody skies. The perspective was accurate for houses, but less so for other objects.

Despite the mediocre quality of Hitler's works, they were becoming collectible even during his rise to power - so much so that forgers mimicked some for money. The market for them in Germany no longer exists, but Russian and American collectors still show an interest.

One reason that they can be regarded as an investment is that Hitler's signature - which altered over the years - appears on each, and that gives the works their primary value. A selection have come up for sale at Mullock's auctioneers in Shropshire, UK.

Sketch by Adolf Hitler, possibly of his mother
Sketch by Adolf Hitler, possibly of his mother
(Click to enlarge)

Most of the paintings are estimated at £4,000-6,000 (though some up to £15,000) including a painting of an urn, a sketch of a male nude from the back and a sketch of a middle aged woman which has been speculated to be Hitler's mother.

A signed copy of Mein Kampf is also on offer.

Collectors who wish to possess the dictator's autograph may wish to take a look at this piece which is currently available, as is that of Hitler's nemesis, William Churchill. Mullock's has previously sold the plane ticket Neville Chamberlain used to agree a worthless peace treaty with Hitler.

Appearing with a higher estimate than any of these works is an art work we've referred to previously: supposedly created by Emma Lowenstramm, a Jewish art teacher, in 1909 which depicts one of her students playing chess with a Russian exile.

Hitler & Lenin etching with pieces from the chess set
Hitler plays Lenin... in 1909?

The student is Adolf Hitler, and the Russian exile is one Vladimiar Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin. If this is genuine, then it is certainly worth more than the £30,000-40,000 guide price, as we noted before. The owner has a great many documents intended to prove the claim that it is.

Both men played chess, with Lenin particularly enthusiastic (supposedly saying that chess is a 'gymnasium for the mind' although the quote may have been attributed to him to help sell chess books). Collectors interested in Lenin may wish to take a look at an original death mask of the Soviet leader.

Nevertheless it would be extraordinary if the two then unknown figures happened to be captured in such a symbolic battle at this time. The auction takes place on April 15.


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