A century old painting by Adolf Hitler was finally auctioned off at the Weidler auction house in Nuremberg. The work went under the hammer for €130,000, or £102,000 on Saturday. The watercolour painting dates from 1914 or 1915, the titled of which is ‘The Old Town Hall’ and is a depiction of the Munich registrar’s office, was put up for sale by two elderly sisters, whose grandfather bought the artwork in 1916, when Hitler was in his 20s.
The work measures 28 by 22 centimetres (11 inches by 8.7 inches). Hitler the artist, applied to the Vienna Academy of Art but was rejected; he continued to paint however, copying images from postcards that he sold to tourists. Experts consider his work to be of mediocre quality and the larger auction houses generally refuse to sell the late Nazi dictator’s works. Nuremberg famously hosted the trials of Nazi leaders after World War II.
The auction lot also included a proof of origin in the form of the original bill of sale, as well as a certificate of authenticity from Albert Bormann, the brother of Martin Bormann who was Hitler’s chief of staff. There was not an official pre-sale estimate announced for the work, but with the original bill of sale being present, it is thought to have increased the painting’s value.
‘The Old Town Hall’ starting price was €4,500 or £3,521, with the owners promising to donate ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of the infamous work to a charity for disabled children. The sisters also have plans to help renovate the city’s Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which are now a memorial.
Several paintings by the Nazi leader have come to market at Weidler over the years; as the remnants of the fuhrer’s failed art career. Of the five works previously sold at the auction house, the most recent painting was purchased by an anonymous Slovakian collector in January 2012 for €32,000 or £25,000. The sale of Hitler’s artworks – considered to be collected for historical value rather than quality – of which there are about 800 examples known to exist, is permitted unless a piece includes any kind of Nazi imagery.
But nevertheless, regardless of a lack of Fascist symbolism in this particular work, the Buyer of Adolf Hitler’s painting ‘Old Town Hall’ 1914/15, at Weidler Auction House last Saturday, wished to remain anonymous.