BERLIN — A 1944 painting by German artist George Grosz that depicts Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as the Bible’s fratricidal Cain went on display at the German Historical Museum in Berlin on Tuesday as part of a new permanent exhibition.
Grosz was one of the most important artists focused on political themes during the Weimar Republic in Germany, a period between the end of World War I and the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933.
Grosz immigrated that year to the United States. The Nazis deemed many of his creations “degenerate art” and destroyed them.
The 1944 painting “Cain or Hitler in Hell” depicts a broken Hitler sitting among skeletons as war rages behind him. The biblical Cain murders his brother, Abel, and God condemns him to a life of wandering.
The artwork helps illustrate “how Grosz further developed his critical form after emigration,” said Markus Hilgert, a senior German cultural official.
Grosz himself said the painting shows “Hitler as a fascist monster, or as an apocalyptic beast.”
The painting, purchased from Grosz’s heirs, will be a central part of a new permanent exhibition.
“For me, it is important that now younger people will have access to the painting and the critical view the artist had of Nazism,” Hilgert said.