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Childress

Hitler, the failed artist

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All my life I have wanted to be a great painter in oils. ... As soon as I have carried out my program for Germany, I shall take up painting. I feel that I have it in my soul to become one of the great artists of the age and that future historians will remember me not for what I have done for Germany, but for my art.

History has littered us with failed artists turned successful demagogues and tyrants; Stalin was a frustrated poet, Napoleon and Mussolini frustrated novelists. It appears creating art, great art requires all-consuming devotion; its practitioners aspire to leave an indelible mark on the world. Recognition, not money, drives the ambitious artist; he (or she) wishes to win the hearts and minds of his generation and beyond or, at the very least, the admiration of his peers. The drive amounts to a species of power seeking but, like a raging stream, it will find new channels if blocked.

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The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich, by Adolf Hitler 

Prior to WW1 young Adolf Hitler, living down and out in Vienna discovered he could earn a meager living selling pictures and postcards of the city’s famous landmarks. Another resident in his boardinghouse hawked his works of art to various shops where they were mostly used to fill empty picture frames. ‘I owe it to that period that I grew hard and am still capable of being hard,’ Hitler stated in <i>Mein Kampf</i>. But Viennese eyewitnesses remembered that Hitler's dealings with Jews had been quite natural; Jakob Altenberg, a Jewish frame maker, was a business partner for several years. His friend, Reinhold Hanisch later wrote: 'Adolf often said that it was only with the Jews that one could do business because only they were willing to take chances.' Did the Anti-Semitism blossom later?

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A Hitler postcard

Hitler confessed in his Table Talk that had he succeeded as a painter he never would have become a politician, if true his rejection by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna brought dire consequences for Germany and the world. Hitler's traditionalist canvases display technical bravura but, we're told, a certain coldness in depicting human subjects detracts from the overall effect. (perhaps explaining the preference for landscapes, flower arrangements, and prominent buildings) The board acknowledged his compositional skills but complained that his works contained ‘too few heads’. An exception from 1913:

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Mary and Jesus

Hitler’s difficulties with the human form, his inability to emotionally connect with his subjects, may have been the result of the severe physical abuse he suffered as a young boy. Had he been denatured? The Viennese board suggested that his talents were better applied to architecture but young Hitler, proud, considered that a demotion. Additionally, as one living the life of a vagabond he lacked the requisite academic credentials. Rejection by the board further poisoned Hitler's already toxic existence yet he would consider himself a great artist right up until his suicide in the Berlin bunker. He was not completely untalented- according to experts he displays a draftman's skill and mastery of watercolor - but there's nothing more soul-crushing for a would-be artist than 'almost' succeeding (as he would feel it).

Nearing the end, Hitler allegedly ordered the collection and destruction of his artworks, but several hundred are known to still exist. After the war the US Army seized Hitler’s paintings, some remain held by the government, others in private hands. Appraisals on his work continue to be harsh, but:

One modern art critic was asked to review some of his paintings without being told who painted them and judged them "quite good". The different style in which he drew human figures, however, the critic said, represented a profound disinterest in people.

-Frederick Spotts

Prices for Hitler’s paintings, mostly watercolors, range from 50,000 to 100,000US in auctions. Replicas of the paintings can be found on eBay: https://i.ebayimg.com/thumbs/images/g/GK8AAOSwRQxaUQnq/s-l225.jpg

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Edited by Childress

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Wow, great post.

I'm no art critic -- but I think his paintings should have qualified him for admission. He obviously has talent, and would have benefited much from Art School. I had a statistics teacher (who was Jewish) in high school. He said that there was nothing more dangerous than an uneducated philosopher and that Hitler was an uneducated philosopher. Which begs the question: if he had post-secondary education, would he still birth Nazism?

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Posted (edited)

If he had more formal education would he have been so successful at first and, in the end, so catastrophic.? I don't claim to know. He, like Stalin, did possess a shrewd grasp of human nature an asset that got him as far as he did. Both dictators were brutalized by alcoholic fathers at a tender age. 

From a previous essay of mine (don't have the links for the quotes at hand):

Stalin's mother's (Keke) memoirs, were released from a secret Soviet archive, in it, she detailed how a series of illnesses and accidents left "Soso" - her nickname for Josef - partially crippled, and how he coped with a violent alcoholic father.

My Soso was a very sensitive child, As soon as he heard the sound of his father singing balaam-balaam from the street [a bad sign], he'd immediately run to me asking if he could go to our neighbors' until his father fell asleep.

Keke recounted how she used her child's love of flowers to encourage him to walk. Holding out a chamomile, she would entice him to move towards her. Young Soso dreaded that he'd become a cobbler like his father.

I kissed him and wiped away his tears. Nobody will stop you studying, nobody is going to take you away from me.

Very tender reminiscences. But she also kicked the s*** out of him. The two remained estranged throughout most of Stalin's career.

 

Edited by Childress

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Hitler in art school?

July 5, 1949 4:00 PM GMT "UP Article"

'Obscure Artist Famed for Bizarre Political Views and Protests Dies of Narcotics'

Adolf Hitler - small artist from Austria living in Paris once famed for outrageous protest acts in the 30s died this morning in Paris. He was 60.  Hitler claimed to be preparing to tour the Italian countryside for his famed much hyped collection of paintings, but failed to secure financial backing as critics pointed out he'd been making the same claim since the 1920s.

Its thought Hitlers sprial into drug use began after his draft in WW1 and after he fled the shattered remnants of Germany following the war.  Hitler was known to lecture anyone who would listen how the Great War destroyed his ability to draw people the same - he claims he had no problems before being drafted out of school -and hence that was the reason for his famed "carpet muncher" tirades whenever German diplomats happened by him in the streets.

-meanwhile in Boston, someone sets a newspaper doen' "Ma whose this Hitler guy?"  -whap!-  "I TOLD you I dont want you looking at that degenerate art from Paree!"

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Seeing them side by side, Hitler's painting look quite good.  Wonder which artist people would prefer to have displayed in their home?  Maybe we should do a survey?  

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Posted (edited)

Judging by the links above, Hitler wins on precise composition but Churchill's oils surpass his in warmth.  Anyone notice in the painting above the linebacker-size of Mary's hand? Also the red-headed Jesus.

Edited by Childress

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Maybe crude and erotic.

His notations on death warrants besides "had it coming etc" theres lots of "whores" and "cheated on x or y" "banged z" :)

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On 5/2/2019 at 5:45 PM, DerKommissar said:

Wow, great post.

I'm no art critic -- but I think his paintings should have qualified him for admission. He obviously has talent, and would have benefited much from Art School. I had a statistics teacher (who was Jewish) in high school. He said that there was nothing more dangerous than an uneducated philosopher and that Hitler was an uneducated philosopher. Which begs the question: if he had post-secondary education, would he still birth Nazism?

The ideology was well established before Hitler joined, so Nazism would have been a political factor in any case. Wheteher they could have taken over Germany without him, who knows?

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I like the theory that happy people don't accomplish much - why should they - they are happy with the way things are.  

ie: The world is moved forwards/changed by the disaffected folks with bad childhoods who have an axe to grind/chip on their shoulder/something to prove.  NB: PR often presents such people as happy, but if one digs into their BG, there's usually something dark. 

 

 

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On 5/5/2019 at 11:49 AM, Sublime said:

Maybe crude and erotic.

His notations on death warrants besides "had it coming etc" theres lots of "whores" and "cheated on x or y" "banged z" :)

Think early 2000s rap.

22 minutes ago, Erwin said:

I like the theory that happy people don't accomplish much - why should they - they are happy with the way things are.  

ie: The world is moved forwards/changed by the disaffected folks with bad childhoods who have an axe to grind/chip on their shoulder/something to prove.  NB: PR often presents such people as happy, but if one digs into their BG, there's usually something dark.

"Happy people have no history." -- Tolstoy

Diseases were more rampant and deadly, in the past. Life expectancy and living conditions were poorer. In both respects, relative to their temporal peers -- Stalin and Hitler were not significantly below average. Indeed, most famous historical figures were not illiterate peasantry. I'd say that most scientists, inventors and philosophers had very good upbringing.

Fun fact: The first Polytechnic, that Einstein applied to, rejected him!

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13 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

The first Polytechnic, that Einstein applied to, rejected him!

That devastating humiliation is probably what drove him to be a genius!  :)

 

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17 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

Think early 2000s rap.

"Happy people have no history." -- Tolstoy

Diseases were more rampant and deadly, in the past. Life expectancy and living conditions were poorer. In both respects, relative to their temporal peers -- Stalin and Hitler were not significantly below average. Indeed, most famous historical figures were not illiterate peasantry. I'd say that most scientists, inventors and philosophers had very good upbringing.

Fun fact: The first Polytechnic, that Einstein applied to, rejected him!

Ahhh ur awesome thanks for a laugh

Early 2k rap hehe

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On 5/5/2019 at 8:46 AM, Erwin said:

Seeing them side by side, Hitler's painting look quite good.  Wonder which artist people would prefer to have displayed in their home?  Maybe we should do a survey?  

Churchill would always win.people wont be able to seperate the maker from the art.  Maybe in a thousand years.  Probay by then Hitler will have grown into am evil demi god ppl argue over whether he existed and whether its true he had horns as a birth deformity.

More likely we.ll all have been extinct 900 years though

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16 hours ago, Sublime said:

More likely we.ll all have been extinct 900 years though

It strikes me as entirely possible that by the end of this century the human race might be extinct or nearly so. I hope not, but it seems like we are bound and determined to wipe each other out, and we're damned good at it. And that's not even counting giant meteors or mega-calderas.

Michael

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