Christie’s Sells Disturbing Adolf Hitler Sculpture For $17.2 Million

Adolf Hitler is making news again, but this time he’s inspiring curiosity instead of fear. Christie’s auction house has just sold a sculpture of Hitler, earning $17.2 million for the unusual piece of World War II memorabilia. The likeness of Adolf Hitler represents the leader of the Nazi party in a kneeling stance and is lifelike enough to give one chills, yet the sculpture sold in as little as five minutes and at a handsome price.

Adolf Hitler Endures In The Form Of A Sculpture

It’s been more than 70 years since World War II and the defeat of the Nazi party by the Allied Forces, but the name of their leader, Adolf Hitler, still inspires fear in many. The lessons learned from Hitler’s rise to power still warn against giving any one person too much authority over the masses. There may never be a day when one will hear “Adolf who?” and the enduring infamy of Hitler is proven by the interest shown in this recent visage of the Nazi leader kneeling in what appears to be the position of one in prayer.

The Adolf Hitler sculpture, titled “Him,” was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who admits that he once considered destroying the artwork.

“I wanted to destroy it myself. I changed my mind a thousand times, every day. Hitler is pure fear; it’s an image of terrible pain. It even hurts to pronounce his name. And yet that name has conquered my memory, it lives in my head, even if it remains taboo,” said Cattelan. “Hitler is everywhere, haunting the specter of history; and yet he is unmentionable, irreproducible, wrapped in a blanket of silence.”

The Adolf Hitler sculpture was one part of a $78 million lot commemorating the 75-year remembrance of the Nazi massacre of Ukrainian Jews at Babi Yar. The exhibit consists of a 39-lot sale of post-war and contemporary art, and a statement from Christie’s emphasizes the idea that the pieces up for auction should challenge what is traditionally accepted as commercial viability.

“Maurizio Cattelan’s, ‘Him,’ set a world auction record for the artist when it sold for $17,189,000 after over five minutes of bidding,” Christie’s said in a statement. “The depth of interest for this work speaks to its international notoriety, and its ability to breach the boundaries of fine art and popular culture, forcing the viewer to reconsider challenging questions about action and absolution.”

Adolf Hitler Sells In Under Five Minutes

The image of the Nazi leader might have been expected to remain in Christie’s possession, gathering dust, but that wasn’t the case. The auction house says the sculpture of Hitler surprised by selling in record time with the winning bid for $17.2 million having been entered only five minutes into the bidding. Loic Gouzer, deputy chairman of post-war and contemporary art, says the overwhelming interest in the Hitler statue is a testament to the enduring notoriety of the Nazi leader on an international level, still transcending lines of political interests, war memorabilia, and pop culture.

In the notes available for public viewing on the exhibit, Nancy Spector remarks that the statue’s height and the position of Adolf Hitler places viewers in a position of authority over “Him” and leaves it up to the person confronting the sculpture to punish Hitler. Adding to this feeling of superiority over the one-time ruler and dictator, Adolf has a child-like body and position, diminutive and meager beneath the stares of the public.

“I’m not trying to offend anyone. I don’t want to raise a new conflict or create some publicity; I would just like that image to become a territory for negotiation or a test for our psychoses,” added Maurizio Cattelan.

[Photo by Christie’s/Marian Goodman Gallery/copyright Maurizio Cattelan via AP Images]