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Thursday, January 31, 2019


by Alan Catlin

Pictured above is one of three watercolor paintings attributed to the former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler which were seized by shortly before they were due to go under the hammer on Thursday. “We received an online tip-off that the paintings are fakes,” Patricia Bremer, a police spokeswoman, told journalists. The watercolours had a reserve price of €4,000 (£3,450) each, and the Kloss auction house said interest was expected from collectors in the UK.“In my view they have no artistic value, it's simply adequate craftsmanship,” Hans-Joachim Maeder, a spokesman for the auction house said. “If you walk down the Seine and see 100 artists, 80 will be better than this. The value of these objects and the media interest is because of the name at the bottom.” —The Telegraph (UK), January 25, 2019

I thought I might have
dreamed a story I saw on
the eleven o’clock news
until I downloaded the
broadcast on line.

What I heard was,

An auction house in
Europe was selling
watercolors signed by

And while, the general thinking
was, these paintings had "no
artistic merit" whatsoever,
it was thought the signature
would be of major interest.

The auction house hoped
to make a lot of money for
the owners . . .

And I wondered:
Were they planning to advertise?

Possess your very own Hitler.

And if you owned a Hitler,
what would you do with it?

Hang it on a wall?

Store it under lock and key,
only showing it on special occasions . . .

And what would those occasions be?

Your own, personal Hitler.

Think about it.

Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full length books, most recently the chapbook Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance (Presa Press), a series of ekphrastic poems responding to the work of German photographer August Sander who did portraits of Germans before, during, and after both World Wars.