Paintings Attributed to Hitler to Be Auctioned in Britain

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Thirteen paintings attributed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, including a self portrait painted when he was a struggling artist in Vienna, are to be sold in Britain next month.

Works by the dictator, who ran Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 and oversaw the killing of six million Jews in the Holocaust, will go under the hammer on April 23, said auctioneer Mullocks, based in Shropshire.

Two years ago, 21 paintings attributed to Hitler were sold for 118,000 pounds, or more than twice the pre-sale estimate, by an auction house in Cornwall. The sale raised doubts among some art experts as to the paintings' authenticity.

"I've seen quite a bit of Hitler art, and the subjects tend to be the same," said Richard Westwood-Brookes, a historical documents expert who will be holding the sale for Mullocks.

He said Hitler liked to paint pictures of flowers, especially roses, and romantic landscapes with cottages.

In the self portrait, a watercolour, Hitler is sitting pensively on a stone bridge, wearing a brown suit. His face lacks a nose and mouth, as well the trademark square moustache.

"They're not exactly the greatest pictures in the world," Westwood-Brookes said, adding they could fetch between 400 and 1,000 pounds.

He said purchasers would likely be "people who are genuinely interested in Hitler as a figure from history." An unnamed Russian businessman was top bidder at the previous auction.

Hitler applied to art school in Vienna but was rejected. He then joined the army and fought in World War One.

Westwood-Brookes said an Austrian expert had issued certificates of authenticity for the pictures, which once belonged to a British soldier stationed in Essen, Germany, in 1945.

The authenticity of Hitler's work has long been a bone of contention. In 1983 a British historian was taken in by diaries purportedly written by Hitler that became a sensation before turning out to be forgeries.