Did Hitler paint this watercolour? Art dealer seeks help to solve puzzle
Mealy’s Fine Art has accepted landscape painting for its December auction and catalogued it as ‘attributed to Adolf Hitler’
This work, signed “AH”, has a price tag of €1,000-€1,500. It was originally bought by a Dundalk man as “part of a boxed job lot for about £30” in England last year.
One of the most established art dealers in the country acknowledges that questions will be asked and doubts raised by a painting it is “attributing” to Adolf Hitler, which it will put up for auction in a few weeks’ time.
“The more I look at it, the more it appears stylistically similar to Hitler’s early works, ” sa- id auctioneer George G Mealy.
He said he accepted the attribution may be controversial and “would welcome any expert opinion, given that it is notoriously difficult to prove”.
A Dundalk man who wishes to remain anonymous discovered the painting. The man, who goes to auctions and car-boot sales “as a hobby”, bought the watercolour as “part of a boxed job lot for about £30” in England last year. Back home in Co Louth, some months later, he took the back off the picture to clean the glass and discovered the artist’s signature, the initials “AH”, which had been obscured by the frame. Research by his daughter revealed that the signature might be that of Adolf Hitler.
As a young man, Hitler lived in Vienna and made money from selling his paintings. But his artistic career was dashed when he was rejected, twice, for a place in the city’s prestigious art school.
He subsequently pursued a military and political career.
Mealy’s Fine Art has accepted the painting for its December auction and catalogued it as “attributed to Adolf Hitler”.
Paintings attributed to Hitler have occasionally turned up and been sold at auctions abroad. However, most of the major international auction houses do not assess, value or sell his work.
The painting depicts a landscape and a title, “Walberswick from Southwold”, is written on the reverse. The village of Walberswick and town of Southwold are on the Suffolk coast in England. Mr Mealy said the attribution, if accurate, “would suggest that Hitler had visited England” and the painting “would be very significant from a historical point of view”.
There has long been speculation that Hitler visited his half-brother Alois and his Dublin-born wife Bridget (née Dowling) in Liverpool during a five-month period between 1911 and 1912. In her memoirs, Bridget claimed Hitler had spent five months in their Toxteth home before he returned to Germany. These claims are widely disputed by historians.
The painting will go under the hammer in the saleroom at Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, on December 3rd with an estimate of €1,000 to €1,500.