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'Hitler' paintings fail to sell at Nuremberg auction

AFP  |  Nuremberg (Germany) 

Five paintings attributed to failed to find buyers at an Saturday held amid anger at the sale of Nazi

High starting prices of between 19,000 and 45,000 euros ($21,000 and $50,000) and lingering suspicions about the authenticity of the artworks were thought to have scared off potential buyers.

The Weidler house did not comment on the reasons for the failure but said the paintings could yet be sold at a later date.

Nuremberg's had earlier condemned the sale as being "in bad taste".

Among the items that failed to sell were a mountain lake view and a painting of a wicker armchair with a swastika symbol presumed to have belonged to the late Nazi dictator.

The Weidler house held the "special sale" in Nuremberg, the city in which Nazi war criminals were tried in 1945.

Days before the sale a number of the artworks were withdrawn on suspicion they were fakes with prosecutors stepping in.

Sales of alleged artworks by Hitler -- who for a time tried to make a living as an in his native -- regularly spark outrage that collectors are willing to pay high prices for art linked to the country's Nazi past.

"There's a long tradition of this trade in devotional objects linked to Nazism," of the for Art History in told AFP.

"Every time there's a about it... and the prices they're bringing in have been rising constantly. Personally, that's something that quite annoys me."

In Germany, public displays of Nazi symbols are illegal but exceptions can be made, in educational or historic contexts for instance.

To comply with the law, the auction house pixellated the swastikas on the and a blue-and-white Meissen porcelain vase in catalogue photos, and covered them up on-site.

But none of the paintings included any of the totalitarian party's insignias.

According to Klingen, Hitler had the style of "a moderately ambitious amateur" but his creations did not stand out from "hundreds of thousands" of comparable works from the period -- making their authenticity especially hard to verify.

The watercolours, drawings and paintings bearing "Hitler" signatures featured views of or Nuremberg, female nudes and still life works, the auction house said. They were offered by 23 different owners.

Prosecutors on Wednesday collected 63 artworks from the Weidler premises bearing the signature "A.H." or "A. Hitler", including some not slated to go under the hammer.

Nuremberg-Fuerth prosecutor's office said it had opened an investigation against persons unknown "on suspicion of falsifying documents and attempted fraud", chief told AFP.

"If they turn out to be fakes, we will then try to determine who knew what in the chain of ownership," she said.

Weidler said in a statement that the paintings' withdrawal from sale did "not automatically mean they are fakes".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 00:55 IST
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