untangling the awkward relationship between art and money

Bad art by a bad person: Hitler goes under the hammer

Here’s something to ponder: how different a place would the world be if Adolf Hitler had been born with but a soupçon of artistic talent, and been able to fulfil his dreams and crack the Munich art scene? I mean, between the German Dadaists, Expressionists, Abstractionists and the proponents of the Bauhaus movement, the Weimar Republic was a-rocking, artistically speaking, between the wars. Adolf certainly didn’t want for blind ambition and clear, if diabolical, vision. If he’d been able to satiate his megalomania by morphing into an art world enfant terrible… well, much of the bad stuff that’s gone on since might not have happened. Butterfly wings and all that.

This supposed self-portrait sold for $20,000.

But, sadly, t’was not to be. Which may be a tragedy for the modern world. But, as evidenced by a collection of watercolours sold at auction, one of which is pictured here, it was a blessing for the world of art. Hitler was wise to abandon his artistic calling. Or, in his case, less of a calling and more of a muffled mumble from somewhere a very, very long way away. The thirteen paintings sold for nearly $200,000 at auction in Britain last week. No doubt to a souvenir hunter. No self-respecting art lover would deign to piss on them. For so many reasons.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve noticed lately that articles discussing Hitler often include a summary biographical description of the beast and his deeds. Such as the following from The Age: ‘Best known as the genocidal dictator who butchered millions in his quest to unite Europe under German rule‘. “How unnecessary…As if we don’t know who he is…”, you might very well think. As would I. If not for the nineteen-year-old university student I had in a class last year who had never heard of Hitler.

True story. Sigh.

Images: Watercolour – ABC online

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