A watercolour of Munich’s old city hall, believed to have been painted by Adolf Hitler in 1914, has been sold for 130,000 euros ($161,000) at an auction in Germany to an anonymous buyer from the Middle East.
Kathrin Weidler, director of the Weider auction house in Nuremberg, said on Saturday that the work attracted bidders from four continents. She declined to elaborate on any details of the bid.
The painting, entitled “Standesamt und Altes Rathaus Muenchen” (Civil Registry Office and Old Town Hall of Munich), is said to be one of about 2,000 works that Hitler painted between about 1905 and 1920 as a struggling young artist.
In his autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’, Hitler wrote that, as a young man, his hopes of becoming an artist had been dashed by repeated rejection by Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts.
Experts consider his work to be of mediocre quality and the larger auction houses generally refuse to sell the late Nazi dictator’s works, the AFP news agency reported.
Five other Hitler paintings have fetched between 5,000 and 80,000 euros at auction. The painting of the city hall, which was sold by a pair of elderly sisters whose grandfather purchased it in 1916, was expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros.
The auction house said the 28-by-22 centimetre scene auctioned on Saturday also includes the original bill of sale and a signed letter from Hitler’s adjutant, Albert Bormann, brother of the dictator’s private secretary Martin Bormann.
From the text of the undated Bormann letter, it appears the Nazi-era owner sent a photo of the painting to Hitler’s office asking about its provenance.
Bormann wrote that it appears to be “one of the works of the Fuehrer.”
Weidler said the original handwritten bill of sale, dated September 25, 1916, had come with the painting and was a rarity for Hitler’s art. That also explained the relatively high selling price, she said.