Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was also a painter. He produced hundreds of works and sold his paintings and postcards to try to earn a living during his Vienna years (1908-1913). However, he was not successful. A number of his painting were recovered after World War II and have been sold at auctions for tens of thousands of dollars. Others were seized by the U.S. Army and are still held by the U.S. government, which has declined to allow them to be exhibited. Hitler's style was very calculated when representing architecture in his paintings. He rarely painted people. He claimed to be the synthesis of many artistic movements, but it is clear that he drew primarily from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and Neo-Classicism. Even though, he abandoned his passion for art to join the military, he still used art to his advantage. He held a Degenerate Art Exhibition (degenerate meaning works that insult German feeling, or destroy or confuse natural form or simply reveal an absence of adequate manual and artistic skill) in which the political goal was to counteract the movement of modernism and claim that was a scheme for people who were against Germany. Nazi Art was defined as racially pure, easily understood, and depictions of people who exemplified the German race. In his autobiography Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), Hitler described how, in his youth, he wanted to become a professional artist, but his aspirations were ruined because he failed the entrance exam of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. The institute considered that he had more talent in architecture than in painting. According to a conversation in August 1939 before the outbreak of World War II, Hitler told British ambassador Nevile Henderson, "I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist."

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