Arts & Culture

The Psychoanalyst and Adolf’s Art

British auctioneers, Mullock’s, are placing a painting signed, "A. Hitler 1910" on the block in March, which was reportedly owned by famous Jewish psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud. This is entirely possible, as Hitler and Freud lived in Austria around the same … Read More

By / February 17, 2010

British auctioneers, Mullock’s, are placing a painting signed, "A. Hitler 1910" on the block in March, which was reportedly owned by famous Jewish psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud. This is entirely possible, as Hitler and Freud lived in Austria around the same time, but there is still a hint of uncertainty behind the original ownership of the painting.  It’s interesting to note that the painting in question –of a church in the mountains–sounds very much like the one described by Peter Schjeldahl in his 2002 New Yorker piece, "Hitler as Artist".  Discussing an exhibition of Hitler’s artwork at Williams College Museum of Art, Schjeldahl describes a "rather nice watercolor of a mountain chapel, from a commission that was secured for him [Hitler] by Samuel Morgenstern, a Jewish dealer." According to this website, Morgenstern was a neighbor of Freud’s, and in his life had a "fastidiously kept customer database", but it’s unclear if any of those records survived past World War 2.  And since Morgenstern died of exhaustion in the ghetto of Litzmannstadt in 1943, the proximity between dealer and psychoanalyst may be the only true link we have in knowing if Hitler’s artwork really hung in Freud’s office.