Part of Hitler's Art Cache Uncovered in Czech Monastery

  • February 27, 2012 21:35

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"Degenerate Art" exhibition in 1937.

Seven paintings, formerly owned by infamous dictator Adolph Hitler, have been located at a monastery in the Czech Republic.

The paintings were apparently stashed in Bohemia towards the end of World War II, at the Vyssi Brod monastery. 

Just recently, historian and writer Jiri Kuchar unearthed the art in a part of the depository at the Doksany convent not accessible to the public; when the paintings arrived at Doksany is uncertain.

"They're part of Hitler's collection of about 45 paintings, about 30 statues, a writing table and some gifts, which was declared former Czechoslovakia's war booty," says Kuchar.

He has been hunting down missing pieces of Hitler’s art collection for the last five years, resulting in the location of several parts of the collection.

Hitler had artistic aspirations himself at one time.  He attempted to enter The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, on two occasions, but was refused admission both times. 

Rejecting modernism in favor of classical art, Hitler notoriously held an exhibition of what he considered “Degenerate Art.”  Much of this art was subsequently destroyed, including works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. However, if the art was considered marketable and lucrative enough, it was auctioned off in Switzerland. 

The paintings hidden at the monastery had originally included the Mannheimer and Rothschild collections, and had been picked through after the war and carted away. 

The seven left behind fell into obscurity, the monks unaware of the artworks’ checkered past.  Among them is a large work by one of Hitler’s favorite artists, Franz Eichhorts, entitled “Memory of Stalingrad.”  The 1943 image depicts wounded German soldiers huddled in a trench while around them the battle rages. 

Some experts believe the historical significance of the paintings might bring them to $3 million if all sold at auction.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

Tags: european art

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