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Hitler’s artistic frustration

3 Febrero, 2017  —  By

It was 1907 when an 18-year-old boy named Adolf Hitler attempted to enter the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

The young man had prepared himself intensely for more than a year to pass the admission examination in which he would compete with more than 100 applicants.
The young man passed the written test and went on to the next instance: drawing test, where he had to present a series of works previously done.

Hitler's artistic frustration
Hitler’s artistic frustration

The result was insufficient. That young man who did not pass the test. We know, it was Adolf Hitler …
Without losing hope the young Hitler tried to enroll in Architecture, but the results were even worse, did not even meet the minimum requirements to enter.

A year later, in 1908, Hitler again tried to enter the Academy of Fine Arts but this time he did not even pass the written exam. In spite of the negatives, totally determined to triumph like artist, he settled like painter in 1910 realizing works of small format, which were copies of postcards, engravings and figures in the natural.

Hitler, from painter to genocide

Most of his works were done with pencil, pastels, ink and watercolors. The aspiring painter was associated with Reinhold Hanisch who would be responsible for selling the works whose main buyers were small Jewish merchants.

In 1913 Hitler moved to Munich and for this he sold each of his paintings.

The average price was 100 DM, while the cost of living at that time of the future Führer was DM 80, which allowed him to go to opera and theater, artistic activities that he loved and would encourage at all times.

Despite his attempts to become a renowned painter, in Vienna he was a “nobody” and in Munich: an outcast. The rejection received from the Academy of Fine Arts ended by convincing him that he would never be a great artist.

In 1914 Hitler became a soldier being decorated in several opportunities. In the trenches he wrote poems, demonstrating that he possessed an artistic personality. We can establish a certain parallelism with the thinking of the Futurist Movement, which in its first manifesto affirmed that they glorified the war, which was the only cure of the world.

Perhaps it was precisely because of this shared thought. The most recurrent theme of his works was the landscapes, which he copied from postcards, cards or other paintings that the movement promoted by Marinetti would become the official culture of Fascism.

Participation in the war awakened in Adolf Hitler a growing interest in politics and would move from being a frustrated and unknown painter to speaker, public agitator and began to gestate the horrible story that would affect all Humanity.

Artistic production of the future Führer

His artistic training was very precarious, had received some classes of sculpture in Vienna by an unknown sculptor.

The most recurrent theme of his works were the landscapes, which he copied from postcards, cards or other paintings. His works were not authentic creations and finishing each one took about 3 days.

That is why when talking about Adolf Hitler as an artist, inevitably arises the following question: is it possible to consider a copyist, without any originality as an artist?

Well, there are those who think so, because at least there were technical skills to reproduce the originals. Others believe that a mere copy can not be considered as a work of art …

Two of the drawings that a young Adolf Hitler sent to the Academy of Art of Vienna
Two of the drawings that a young Adolf Hitler sent to the Academy of Art of Vienna

The first pictorial works of Hitler

Two of the drawings that the young Adolf Hitler sent to the Academy of Art of Vienna
There were those who considered him a great draftsman and potential painter, such as the Scottish set designer and collector Edgard Gordon Craig, who found in Hitler a true artist and has more than 100 drawings and watercolors of Hitler.

Hitler and the Vanguards

Dominated by an aesthetic of the nineteenth century, he detested the vanguards of the time, remember but the persecution and condemnation of what he considered “degenerating art.”

With the excuse of the construction of an Art Museum in Linz, his hometown, organized a hunt for works of art that were part of important private collections, mainly Jewish, which led to the loss of invaluable part of the history of art . If we ask ourselves, what would have happened if Hitler had been accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts? The answer is not simple, what is clear is that the story would have been different.

Perhaps in this way Adolf Hitler could have channeled his hatred, his racist phobias, frustrations and emotional imbalances in painting and Humanity would have been saved from the millions of deaths caused by that contemporary genocide