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Hitler artwork fetches hundreds of thousands at auction

Before rising to power as a totalitarian dictator, a young Adolf Hitler dreamed of becoming an artist. His mediocre works recently managed to attract huge sums of money at a Nuremberg auction.

Fourteen drawings and watercolors signed "A. Hitler" were sold at auction this weekend in the German city of Nuremberg for 391,000 euros ($444,000) according to the Weidler auction house. The highest price was paid for a watercolor of King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, which went to a Chinese buyer for 100,000 euros.

Each of the works were made between 1904 and 1922, before Hitler seized power in Germany.

"These collectors are not specialized in works by this particular painter but rather have a general interest in high-value art," Kathrin Weidler explained to German news agency DPA. Other bidders came from Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, France and even Germany itself. The auction house said they were mostly art investors but declined to identify them by name.

Another watercolor thought to be by Hitler which depicted Munich's town hall was sold in 2014 by the same auctioneers for 130,000 euros.

As a young man Hitler made money by painting postcards of Vienna, Austria and selling them to tourists. He applied to the Vienna Academy of Art twice in 1907 and 1908 but was rejected both times.

The sale of his paintings is permitted in Germany as long as they do not violate the country's laws forbidding Nazi propaganda. The auctions remain controversial, however, as 80 percent of the proceedings go to private sellers rather than supporting a charitable cause.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)

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