Paintings hung at the Berghof.

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Kunstler
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Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Kunstler » 15 Oct 2008 10:56

It is well documented that Adolf Hitler owned many thousands of paintings, having been a collector over a number of years. His early taste seems to have been for the sentimental genre paintings of Grutzner and Carl Spitzweg, but later as his personal wealth grew his interest widened to include hugely diverse painters of many nationalities.

For some time now I have been intrigued to know which were the ones that he chose to decorate the Berghof walls? Otto Dietrich left this description.

"The walls around the great room glowed with the rich colours of classical paintings by German and Italian masters. Over the massive mantel a Madonna by an unknown Italian looked down upon the company, on the left was Feuerbach's nanna and a portrait of king Henry...on the right a female nude by Botticelli, and the sea nymphs from Bocklin's play of the waves'...."

Speer identified a few others in the room, among them a Bordone, a Titian, and a 'Pannini or two'.

I have begun an attempt to identify those paintings and will show here my starting point, there are other paintings contained on other floors within the Berghof, but I begin with the great hall, my apologies for the poor quality of some of these images.

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The views above show that the paintings displayed were moved around from time to time, in one the Madonna that Dietrich spoke of is shown over the mantel, in another it isn't. The same goes for the positioning of the Pannini's, it is place here in the 'winter garden', and at other times in the great hall itself.

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As for the painting of 'Nana' by Anselm Feuerbach, there are several versions, here are the two best known, I have yet to ascertain which of these was hung at the Berghof.

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The large reclining nude shown to the right of the fireplace is similar to Bordone's Sleeping Venus, (shown below) although the one in the Berghof room appears to have an outstretched arm, and the cupid holds a different pose?

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Play of the waves below.
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If anyone would like to contribute to this study with either better photographs, or further information on the paintings then please do! I shall update as I learn more. :)

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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Kunstler » 17 Oct 2008 02:25

While not actually Berghof related, more a kind of by product of my search turned up this painting which hung in Hitler's apartment rooms in Munich. He purchased it sometime in the 1930's, and It struck me as a rather unusual subject item to appeal to him.
The title is 'Die Suende' (the sin) and was painted by another favourite painter of his Franz Von Stuck.

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One other painting of interest that Hitler certainly knew of was this one, again by the Italian painter Giovanni Pannini (1691-1765) of whom he owned a large body of work. It may have been noticed and discussed before and if so excuse my repetition here but I believe Hitler's knowledge of the pantheon depicted in this painting undoubtedly reflects in the design of the Grand hall of Germania.
This painting now hangs in The national gallery of Washington DC

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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 20:53

Great thread topic, Kunstler! I hope we can get really detailed with this one and all put our heads together, and come up with some lasting identifications on the Berghof artwork.

I've been trying to put together a listing, mainly because I wanted to do a "virtual tour" of the Berghof, but I lack both the computer software and the skills to do this. I am also hampered in my research because I am not a fan of classical artwork, so I don't know the artists or works unless they are identified. (I will say, though, that I am familiar with Spitzweg, and I have never seen anything that looks like a Spitzweg hanging anywhere in the Berghof - if these were so popular with Hitler, where did he hang them???)

One problem with identifying the Berghof artwork is getting good clear pictures of what was hanging on the walls. In few cases have I found such - usually it is just a small view in an overall postcard or photo of the Great Room, or one of its walls.

Speaking of the Great Room, I'll start with that. I jotted down all the large objects that take up space on each wall (plus the smaller art pieces that I can see), with the following result. The north wall had the large window, and going clockwise from there:

East Wall -
1. Gobelin tapestry
2. Large cabinet
3. (painting - figure with cupid ?)
4. Statue (nude girl - on chest)
5. Still life (fruit ?) (sometimes Italian ruins #10)

South Wall -
6. Doorway to corridor
7. Heinrich (?) (sometimes Nana #12, sometimes some other painting)
8. Fireplace, w/ Madonna (?) above (sometimes not present)
9. Paris Bordone, "Venus et Amor" or "Venus et Cupid"

West Wall -
10. Italian ruins (sometimes a different "Nana")
11. Bust of Dietrich Eckart
12. Anselm Feuerbach, "Nana"
13. Doorway to Haus Wachenfeld
14. Gobelin tapestry, with bust of Richard Wagner (?) in front
15. Standing clock with eagle and swastika

In the posts below, in which I discuss the various works, I will refer back to the number that I have assigned each object in the list above.

First, some overall views showing some of this artwork ... a couple of overall shots showing the south and west walls.

Geoff Walden
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 20:55

Now a shot of the southeast corner, with parts of the east and south walls.
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 20:58

Now I'll start at the east wall, next to the picture window in the north wall, and go around clockwise, discussing each item in detail.

First was this Gobelin tapestry (Item 1). I don't know the name or title.
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:02

Next was a large wooden cabinet - I have detailed photos of this, but won't cover it here because we are discussing mainly paintings and other such artwork.

Next was a painting that I have no idea what it was (Item 3). I've never seen a decent photo of it - this is an enlargement from a period photo. To me, it looks like a figure that is looking up above his/her shoulder, toward a nude or semi-nude figure that might be some sort of cupid or such thing, up above. Anybody know this work, or have other ideas?
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:10

Next to this unknown (to me) painting was a nude female statue - looks bronze - on a pedestal (Item 4). I don't recognize this as one of the works from the Haus der Deutschen Kunst - it may have been earlier (antique).

Next was a painting that is very unclear to me, but it might be a still life with fruit (Item 5). (Sometimes in this location was an "Italian ruins" painting - see below.) Then came the corner of the room, then in the south wall, the doorway into the main Berghof corridor.

Next was a location that didn't always show the same painting. Sometimes it was a "Nana" by Anselm Feuerbach (see below), and sometimes it was a male figure ("Henry"? - one of the Heinrichs? - Emperor or King?) (Items 7 and 12).

Next came the red marble fireplace, which sometimes had a Madonna (or maybe some other theme) in a circular frame above it.

Geoff
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:17

After the fireplace, still on the south wall, is a painting that is pretty well known, and shows up well in period images (Item 9). This is sometimes called a Botticelli or a Titian, but it has been identified as Paris Bordone's "Venus et Amor" (although I believe the correct title should be "Venus et Cupid" ... but I don't really know anything about classical art. :?

I have read that this original piece still exists in a museum, maybe in Warsaw, but I haven't found a picture of it online.

Geoff
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:22

Turning around the corner to the west wall was a painting showing what I assume were Italian ruins - maybe the Colliseum? (Item 10) Maybe this was a Pannini? It shows up in several photos, but I've not seen a really good view of it.
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:23

Sometimes in this same location (#10) was a different painting - a female figure. Maybe this was another "Nana"? This is the only picture of it that I have seen.
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:26

Next came a bronze bust of Dietrich Eckart on a pedestal (Item 11). Here is a period view of the original. Supposedly, this work still exists in a collection in England, but doubt has been cast on its authenticity (I won't go into that here - I have no part of that debate.)

Geoff
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:30

In the next position on the west wall was generally hung Feuerbach's "Nana" (when it wasn't in location #7 - but it's usually seen here at #12).

This original, or a very close copy of it, apparently DOES still exist. I can't recall the source now, but here is a good close view of a painting that exists today, that sure looks like the same "Nana" that hung in the Berghof.

Geoff
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:35

Next came the large doorway into the Haus Wachenfeld part of the Berghof (this was often covered by a curtain), then the second Gobelin tapestry, on the west wall. On a cabinet in front of this tapestry was a bronze bust, which I believe was of Richard Wagner. I have not seen a good view of it - it could also be Geli Raubal. Hitler had bronze busts of both subjects, and it appears that at least one was in the Berghof, but I'm not really sure which one this is (but I lean more toward Wagner).

Finally were the large globe and standing clock with eagle and swastika on top, then back around to the north wall with its famous window.

Geoff
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Geoff Walden » 23 Oct 2008 21:38

One final post in this series ... Here is a picture of a painting that was found in the air raid shelter tunnels beneath the Berghof in May 1945 (this photo was in Yank magazine). It shows a subject that I have not seen in any period view of the Berghof, but it presumably was displayed somewhere in the house.

Looking forward to further info, debate, and images of this subject!

Geoff Walden
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Re: Paintings hung at the Berghof.

Postby Kunstler » 24 Oct 2008 12:48

Thanks for that post Geoff in which you raise some interesting points.

Hitler once boasted boasted of having 'The finest collection of Spitzweg paintings in the world', in addition he owned a number of works by Eduard Grutzner, and yet I have seen no evidence of them hung at the Berghof.

Once the main hall paintings are positively identified (which your clearer pictures will assist - thank you) we may discover when seeking images of the other (more private) rooms that some of the smaller paintings seen (in the first floor study for example) may be by those artists.
It would also be interesting to discover if the artworks held at the Munich apartment and Fuhrerbau were ever rotated with those at the Obersalzberg. I posted above one such painting which hung at the Munich apartment, and while researching for this thread I have discovered another that hung in his office at the Fuhrerbau, this was presented to Hitler by Himmler as a birthday present, and once I find a good enough image of it I'll post that here too.

I digress here but I find it fascinating to note that many works were indeed purchased by one official for another. Below is a photo of Hitler presenting a painting to Goring. The title of the painting is 'Die Falknerin' and is again by Hans Makart. Given Gorings love of hunting it seems an appropriate choice.

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Seen from another viewpoint the picture becomes clearly that of Makart.

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And here it is, today it is hung in the Alte Pinakothek.

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The reason I posted this particular painting is that while not directly linked to the Berghof, if you take a close look at the face of the model used for the 'Falknerin' to my eyes she bears some resemblance to the woman in the unknown Berghof painting posted by Geoff...perhaps this too is a 'Makart'?

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And finally for this post at least the Italianate landscape shown in several photographs of the great hall is almost certainly by Giovanni Paninni. According to Frederic Spotts in his book 'Hitler and the power of Aesthetics' Hitler bought up much of Paninni's ouvre amassing several hundred paintings, and those paintings in my opinion do tend to be similar variations on the same theme. (below)

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