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Brush with history

‘Fake’ Hitler paintings seized before going under hammer

German police grab three watercolors said to be by the failed art student turned Nazi dictator hours before auction set to take place

A painting of a German landscape signed by A. Hitler but said by German police on January 24, 2019 to be a fake. (Kloss Auction House)
A painting of a German landscape signed by A. Hitler but said by German police on January 24, 2019 to be a fake. (Kloss Auction House)

BERLIN, Germany — German police seized three watercolors presented as works of Adolf Hitler before they were due for auction Thursday in Berlin, claiming they were fakes.

The Alpine and Rhenish landscapes were dated 1910 and 1911 and were signed A. Hitler. They were offered by auction house Kloss.

Berlin police tweeted they had opened an inquiry into “attempted fraud” and “falsification of documents.”

The starting price was 4,000 euros ($ 4,500) per painting, and each carried a seal of approval by an expert attesting their authenticity.

The Nazi dictator tried to enroll in the Vienna Academy of Arts as a young man but was rejected for lack of talent.

He continued painting, however, and copied landscapes from post cards which he sold to tourists.

A 2015 auction of Hitler watercolors fetched nearly 400,000 euros ($452,000).

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