A jobbing artist in Vienna near the beginning of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler's first career gave no hint as to his later notoriety. The prolific but mediocre painter painted a wide variety of subjects, with a tendency to favour moody skies and use dubious perspective.
Mullock's auction house presented a selection of them last week at the end of their historical documents auction.
The piece which interested bidders most was an artwork almost certainly not done during Hitler's anonymous years before World War I however, as it features a swastika burning in the background.
The watercolour presents a foundry worker with some resemblance to Hitler himself, facing an allegorical figure dressed in ancient clothing who is standing at his forge and is seen handing over his forging tools to the 'Hitler' figure.
It has been suggested that the figure in ancient clothing could be Arminius (or Hermann), the German hero who defeated the might of the Roman Army in the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9. Hitler thought of him as the founder of the Third Reich.
The allegory suggested would be that the old German hero is passing his tools on to Hitler in order to continue his work. A section of the painting has been left out, apparently deliberately.
The painting may have been created as the basis for a Nazi propaganda poster, which would make it a very rare and potentially even a candidate for investment due to its historical significance. Indeed Hitler paintings are often bought as investments because his signature is valuable regardless of the art.
Collectors may wish to know that an Adolf Hitler autograph is currently available. Others may be more interested in signatures from the winning side of WW2, in which case signatures by Winston Churchill and General Patton are also on the market.
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A U-boat captain's autograph and a propaganda book also go under the hammer