It seems the market for Nazi memorabilia is alive and well following the auction in Nuremberg, Germany.
The watercolors and drawings date from the early 1900s, and are part of a collection of 14 artworks sold at an auction of Hitler’s art held by Weidler Auctioneers of Nuremberg this weekend, according to RT.
Anonymous buyers pay large sums for Hitler’s controversial art
Hitler produced the images, which feature German castles and Austrian churches, as well as still life pieces, between 1904 and 1922. A watercolor of King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria was the most expensive piece sold, attracting a winning bid of almost $114,000 from a Chinese buyer, according to reports.
The still life works sold for almost $83,000, and other pieces sold included a nude and city landscapes. Bidders competed for a slice of controversial history, most of which were signed “A.Hitler.” Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) stated that “countless forgeries [of Hitler’s artworks] exist.”
The auctioneers have decided to keep the identity of the buyers a secret, but did tell the press that bidders hailed from China, France, Brazil, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
“These collectors are not specialized in works by this particular painter but rather have a general interest in high-value art,” said Kathrin Weidler, who works at the auction house.
High prices for artworks tainted by genocide
The works were produced before Hitler served as a soldier in World War I. Twice he applied to the Vienna Academy of Art, but was rejected. As such, the quality of the work is not particularly high, but interest in it is provoked by his later life.
It is unclear precisely what motivates buyers to bid on works by one of the most well-known genocidal dictators in history, but sale prices have been high at previous auctions. The most expensive of Hitler’s works sold for almost $150,000 in Nuremberg in 2014.
Laws on Nazi memorabilia are strict in Germany, but Hitler’s artworks can be sold if they do not show Nazi symbols. Buying Hitler’s artworks with a view to selling them on for a profit is certainly morally questionable, but buying them for the pleasure of owning an artwork by the ex-Nazi leader is reprehensible.