Hitler watercolours to be auctioned in Britain

Hitler watercolours to be auctioned in Britain

A recently-discovered collection of watercolours attributed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and painted some 25 years before he came to power, is to be auctioned in Britain later this week, Mullock's Auction House said Monday, DPA reported.

The 16 individual paintings, and a portfolio of facsimiles of seven paintings made by Hitler in the course of World War II, are estimated to fetch a total of around 150,000 pounds (237,600 dollars), the auction house in Shropshire, north-west of London, said.

The paintings, signed by Hitler, were discovered in a country estate in northern Austria recently acquired by a wealthy lawyer, who had found the paintings "sitting in a cupboard."

Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes said his company, Mullock's, had taken on the auction because the sale of Nazi memorabilia was prohibited by law in a number of European countries and "Ebay in those countries won't accept" them.

Most of the works were painted in 1908, when Hitler was a struggling young artist after having been rejected twice by an art academy in Vienna.

"He was a second-rate painter," Richard Westwood-Brookes of Mullocks told German Press Agency dpa Monday. "He had an inability to paint people," added Westwood-Brookes, making the point that humans were often portrayed by Hitler without faces.

"He simply wasn't good enough, particularly when drawing people the perspective was all wrong."

The watercolours, which according to Westwood-Brookes have all been certified by experts, depict tranquil landscapes, farm scenes, churches, village scenes and rows of factories.

It was remarkable that they were "all peaceful subjects, without exception, no military, no violent subjects," said Westwood-Brookes in a telephone interview with dpa.

It had, in the early years of the 20th century, been Hitler's daily activity to go out and paint "because he was penniless." The Nazi leader also offered to paint night landscapes for tourists in order to earn some money, revealed Westwood-Brookes.

He expected the paintings to fetch between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds each.

The auction also includes a number of signed editions of Hitler's Mein Kampf and private photographs.

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