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AUCTIONEERS HIT BACK IN 'FAKE' HITLER ART DISPUTE.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Sunday Mercury Writer

ANGRY experts at a respected auction house have hit back over claims that Adolf Hitler paintings they sold were bogus.

Senior staff at Mullocks Auctioneers have stressed there is still no proof the artwork is fake.

And they say the damaging allegations are just the opinion of one man, Dutch journalist and poet Bart FM Droog.

The Church Stretton, Shropshire, business has not received a single complaint from collectors who purchased paintings by the Fuhrer, said consultant Ben Jones, Mullocks carries out detailed research in an attempt to prove provenance, but cannot guarantee beyond doubt an item's authenticity.

Beyond-doubt proof of a Hitler painting is near-impossible, they say. As a mediocre artist, he had no distinctive style of his own: he borrowed styles.

Mullocks offered watercolours, oil paintings and sketches, reputedly by Hitler, at 13 auctions between 2009 and 2017. Droog has questioned the authenticity of all the lots.

The row follows the attempted sale of five Hitler paintings at a Nuremburg auction this month, a sale stained by claims of forgery.

Nuremburg mayor Ulrich Maly condemned the auction as being in bad taste. None of the pictures were bought.

In January, Droog branded five works by the Nazi leader, one a still life, as "crude fakes" before they went under the hammer in Ohio.

He accused Konrad Kujua, who gained worldwide fame through the bogus Hitler diaries, of being the real artist.

Now, Mullocks has been dragged into the row.

But consultant Ben Jones says not one piece of hard evidence has been provided to prove, beyond doubt, that the works his company dealt with were not the real McCoy.

In one instance, a purchaser - an expert on Hitler the artist - flew over to thoroughly scrutinise paintings before purchasing the lot.

"If there are any doubts or questions of legitimacy, if there is concern, we will deal with that in our own way," says Ben.

"It is up to the buyer to buy what they want to buy. We do not hold a gun to their heads. They make their own minds up about how much they wish to bid.

"We have spent several years doing this and we have done it properly.

"This guy (Droog) is a poet and reporter in Amsterdam. These are his opinions. That is what we are dealing with - opinion.

"Ultimately, it is just opinion and my opinion and your opinion on an item may be totally different. It is just his opinion and has been blown out of proportion."

Ben adds: "We have things that come back, an item may have a slight crack on it. We take it on the chin.

"If there are serious allegations, we deal with that with due diligence and do what is needed."

Hitler attempted to make a living by selling his art while living in Vienna from 1908 to 1913.

Before the outbreak of war, he was reported as telling British ambassador Neville Henderson: "I am an artist and not a politician. "Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist."

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Two of the paintings attributed to Adolf Hitler

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2019
Words:527
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