Adolf Hitler’s favorite artists and artwork, promoted throughout National Socialist Germany and shunned by the jews for decades, are now on fire, with art collectors in America and Europe paying more than $150,000.
“The major auction houses won’t touch these artists due to their acceptance by and collaboration with the Nazis,” said Maryland auctioneer Bill Panagopulos. But, he added, “ there’s a market here.”
Marius Martens, a Dutch art dealer, said art from Karl Walther or sculptor Georg Kolbe, whom Hitler liked and whose work he displayed in Third Reich buildings, has finally caught the eye of collectors because the World War II period is now popular.
“This is only the beginning,” Martens said, adding that he has received death threats for selling the artwork. Panagopulos said he is already planning a sale of the works.
The popularity of Hitler’s favorite artists sprang to life in just the last 12 months. “Last year, the market was awakened by the sale of a painting by Karl Walther for 23,000 euro. It was an extremely scarce piece as it once hung in the New Chancellery of Adolf Hitler.” he said.
“It seems now that this was not a one-off occasion. Recently works of other artists popular in the Third Reich have been sold for considerable prices,” he added.
“Almost 70 years after World War II, more and more people see this art from a purely historical perspective. Although the art works originate from an extremely tragic period, they should not be hidden or destroyed. This is an opinion shared by several museums, seeing the rising number of exhibitions of this art and the number of visitors,” said Martens.
He added that as the World War II generation dies off, their period becomes history. “The driver is time. Just like no well-thinking human being bought a portrait of Napoleon in 1820, short after he destroyed Europe,” said Martins. “In the coming 10 years everybody who lived in the war will die: this means that living-past will change into history.”
Panagopulos said, however, that the growing popularity among collectors of art from Hitler’s favorites does not mean that Third Reich art is hot — yet.