Artwork that was favored by Adolf Hitler and shunned by museums and collectors since World War II is now being sold by art dealers looking to make some significant cash, with some selling for as much as $150,000.
Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, is planning to sell what he has accumulated, saying, “The major auction houses won’t touch these artists due to their acceptance by and collaboration with the Nazis … (but) there’s a market here.”
Marius Martens, an art dealer from the Netherlands, added, “This is only the beginning,” boasting that he had received death threats for selling the artwork. He also said that art from Karl Walther or sculptor Georg Kolbe, whose works adorned Third Reich buildings, are becoming hot items because people are interested in the World War II period.
Martens said the marked for such artwork exploded in the past year, explaining:
Last year, the market was awakened by the sale of a painting by Karl Walther for 23,000 euro. It was an extremely scarce piece as it once hung in the New Chancellery of Adolf Hitler. It seems now that this was not a one-off occasion. Recently works of other artists popular in the Third Reich have been sold for considerable prices. Almost 70 years after World War II, more and more people see this art from a purely historical perspective. Although the art works originate from an extremely tragic period, they should not be hidden or destroyed. This is an opinion shared by several museums, seeing the rising number of exhibitions of this art and the number of visitors.
Martens concluded, “The driver is time. Just like no well-thinking human being bought a portrait of Napoleon in 1820, short after he destroyed Europe. In the coming 10 years everybody who lived in the war will die: this means that living-past will change into history.”