What art school rejected Hitler?

Evil…Dictator…Appalling…Ghastly…All of these words come to mind when describing Hitler…not artist.

Artists are sensitive and love beauty, not death [Francis Bacon, aside]. Failed artist wouldn’t seem to follow, but it could explain a lot.

I had always heard that Hitler was an artist…”not a very good one, though.”

I wanted to see for myself. One thing I can guarantee: he’s a million times better than I am; and also, I would imagine the people saying he’s no good.

Hitler had always said he wanted to be an artist. That dream was dashed when he was rejected by The Academy Fine Arts, Vienna…twice.

With no other options, he painted prolifically and made a career out of selling his paintings as postcards when he lived in Vienna, making ends meet by painting houses. He continued to make art even though success eluded him. He would paint his first self-portrait at 21.

When he served in World War I, he carried around a sketchpad and canvas and he spent his leave time painting. He mentions in Mein Kampf, that he painted about 2 paintings a day, some in oils, but most in watercolor.

His paintings are spot-on when it comes to perspective and proportion. His compositions are technically great. The main criticism, which I can appreciate, is that they are “cold and unfeeling.

Some do look kind of like something in a government manual, or maybe a textbook, not all. I kind of like this one. Though it is criticized. They say the tree is kind of thrown in. I disagree

He took his inspiration from Greco-Roman classicist, Italian Renaissance and Neoclassicist painters. He was very fond of the technical ability. HIs own paintings were reminiscent of architecture. The main complaint was that everything else was an afterthought, especially the nature that framed the buildings.

I wonder if the paintings would still draw such criticism today if they were done by someone else. Perhaps. But it’s easy to characterize his paintings in hindsight as cold and calculating, knowing the horrors he committed

Interestingly enough, his business partner in Vienna was Jewish, as were many of his customers. Before the outbreak of World War II, he 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.”

If only.

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