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Arts & Entertainment with Chris & Randall

May 6, 2022

Randall shows Chris some of Hitler's favorite artists, and some of Hitler's own paintings. 


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Hitler's favorite fine artists according to Albert Speer:

1) Eduard von Grützner
2) Wilhelm Leibl
3) Hans Thoma
4) Hans Makart
5) Carl Spitzweg
6) Arno Breker
7) Paris Bordone
8) Titian
9) Anselm Feuerbach (Nana)
10) Giovanni Paolo Panini
11) Eduard von Steinle


In the book, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, Hanisch reports: "He (Hitler) was never an ardent worker, was unable to get up in the morning, had difficulty in getting started, and seemed to be suffering from a paralysis of the will."[6] 


This episode based on Inside the Third Reich, 1970 edition, first US printing

You may read a different edition online here:

One of Hitler's as well as Hoffman's favorite painters was Eduard Grützner...
For all departments of art Hitler regarded the late nineteenth century as one of the greatest cultural epochs in human history. That is was not yet recognized as such, he said, was only because we were too close to it in time. But his appreciation stopped at Impressionism, whereas the naturalism of a Leibl or a Thoma suited his activistic approach to art. Makart ranked highest; he also thought highly of Spitzweg. In this case I could understand his feeling, although what he admired was not so much the bold and often impressionistic brushwork as the staunch middle-class genre quality, the affable humor with which Spitzweg gently mocked the small-town Munich of his period.
Along the opposite wall stood a massive chest containing built-in speakers, and adorned by a large bronze bust of Richard Wagner by Arno Breker. Above this hung another tapestry which concealed the movie screen. Large oil paintings covered the walls: a lady with exposed bosom ascribed to Bordone, a pupil of Titian; a picturesque reclining nude said to be by Titian himself; Feuerbach's Nana in a very handsome frame; an early landscape by Spitzweg; a landscape of Roman ruins by Pannini; and surprisingly, a kind of altar painting by Eduard von Steinle, one of the Nazarene group, representing King Henry, founder of cities. But there was no Grützner. Hitler occasionally let if be known that he had paid for these paintings out of his own income.
Occasionally the movies were discussed, Hitler commenting mainly on the female actors and Eva Braun on the males. No one took the trouble to raise the conversation above the level of trivialities by, for example, remarking on any of the new trends in directing. Of course the choice of films scarcely allowed for any other approach, for they were all standard products of the entertainment industry. Such experiments of the period as Curt Ortel's Michelangelo film were never shown, at least not when I was there. 
Later, during the war, Hitler gave up the evening showings, saying that he wanted to renounce his favorite entertainment "out of sympathy for the privations of the soldiers." Instead records were played. But although the record collection was excellent, Hitler always preferred the same music. Neither baroque nor classical music, neither chamber music nor symphonies, interested him. Before long the order of the records became virtually fixed. First he wanted a few bravura selections from Wagnerian operas, to be followed promptly with operettas. That remained the pattern. Hitler made a point of trying to guess the names of the sopranos and was pleased when he guessed right, as he frequently did. 
To decorate the Goebbels house I borrowed a few watercolors by Nolde from Eberhard Hanfstaengl, the director of the Berlin National Gallery. Goebbels and his wife were delighted with the paintings—until Hitler cane to inspect and expressed his severe disapproval. Then the minister summoned me immediately: "The pictures have to go at once; they're simply impossible!"
Thus, in the realm of architecture, as in painting and sculpture, Hitler really remained arrested in the world of his youth: the world of 1880 to 1910, which stamped its imprint on his artistic taste as on his political and ideological conceptions. 


Topics discussed include: 

Rudolf von Alt
birth of the modern world
Reich Culture Chamber
Abstract art
Emil Nolde
Eduard von Grützner
Wilhelm Leibl
Hans Thoma
Hans Makart
Carl Spitzweg
Arno Breker
Richard Wagner
Paris Bordone
Anselm Feuerbach (Nana)
Reich Culture Chamber
The Degenerate Art Exhibition
Swing Kids (1993)



1863 -- Salon de Refuses
1910 -- First abstract painting
1914 -- WWI
1919 -- Bauhaus founded 
1933 -- Hitler attains power in Germany
1933 -- Reich Culture Chamber established with Goebbels in charge
Goebbels and some others believed that the forceful works of such artists as Emil Nolde, Ernst Barlach and Erich Heckel exemplified the Nordic spirit; as Goebbels explained, "We National Socialists are not un-modern; we are the carrier of a new modernity, not only in politics and in social matters, but also in art and intellectual matters."[14] However, a faction led by Rosenberg despised Expressionism, leading to a bitter ideological dispute which was settled only in September 1934, when Hitler declared that there would be no place for modernist experimentation in the Reich. 

Also outlawed Jazz and the font Fraktur
1933 -- Bauhaus closes
The Nazi movement, from nearly the start, denounced the Bauhaus for its "degenerate art", and the Nazi regime was determined to crack down on what it saw as the foreign, probably Jewish, influences of "cosmopolitan modernism".[1] 
1937 -- The Degenerate Art Exhibition
Hitler had been an artist before he was a politician—but the realistic paintings of buildings and landscapes that he preferred had been dismissed by the art establishment in favor of abstract and modern styles. So the Degenerate Art Exhibition was his moment to get his revenge. He had made a speech about it that summer, saying "works of art which cannot be understood in themselves but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence will never again find their way to the German people". 

recorded April 21, 2022


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