Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 8: If I Were Rich, I'd Own a Hitler


Let me get something straight before I go forward with this entry. Personally I don't give a shit about 4/20 being the day of smoking, toking, and other weed related activities. The only thing I found interesting about 4/20 this year was the D.C. council unanimously approving medical marijuana. Good timing there D.C. As interesting as this might be to some of you, that is not the topic today. If you didn't get wind of the news, it is also Hitlers Birthday today and in celebration we will be discussing the history of Adolf the painter.
For those of you that like to throw the fact that Hitler was a painter into a conversation try to impress those that failed high school history, I'm here to help you put some facts behind the claim. Adolf's artistic lifestyle all started with his move to Vienna on an orphan's pension and child support from his mother. While his primary pursuit was an interest in painting, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna turned him away on the claim that his real talent is architecture. Even though his educational path had turned his to architecture, school was out of the option. Having been a rebellious high school student, he did not fulfill the educational requirements to be accepted.
Adolf was forced to turn to a path of self-educating and constant practicing. He relied on copying scenes from postcards and selling his work to merchants and tourists who were willing to buy. It didn't take long till Adolf went flat out broke. In December of 1909, due to financial issues he found himself homeless. Freezing and starving, he moved into a shelter for the homeless. His daily diet became whatever was served at the soup kitchen operated by nuns from a local convent. In February 1910, Adolf started making whatever money he could as a day laborer, shoveling snow, and carrying bags at the Vienna train station. With money in his pocket he moved into a home for poor men (Meldemannstra├če dormitory).
Though it seemed like his art career was over, with a stroke of pure inspiration Adolf had realized he could make a meager living off selling pictures of famous Vienna landmarks which he copied from postcards. But he did not work alone. Another resident in his home, Reinhold Hanish, had played the role of his agent in selling Adolfs work. Their partnership did not last long though due to an argument the two got into over whether or not Hanish had stolen some of Adolfs works. He had brought Hanish to court and had landed him an eight day jail sentence. By the time Hanish had gotten back to the home, Adolf had left without as much as a goodbye. He went on to sell more of his artwork to stores who would use them as fillers for empty picture frames. This only went on till he was about 21, when his interest in politics had taken over and led him down a different path.
So what has now become of the Hitler works? They are floating around the art world selling for less than you would expect. From filler paintings that were only meant to accompany empty picture frames to works going for $69,999.99, there is a valuable lesson to be learned. Your artwork can be nothing more than street art and its true value will only be judged on the life you live.
P.S. I would like to take some time out to mention that if Adolf had not followed a life of politics, antisemitism, and was 21 right now... he would be Adolf Hipster.

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