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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
'Hitler' art auctioned in England
Vincent Dowd
BBC News

Painting attributed to Adolf Hitler
The authenticity of the artworks has not been verified
Artwork attributed to Adolf Hitler has been sold at auction in a small town in southwest England.

Nineteen watercolours and two sketches were sold by a firm of auctioneers which says the art was discovered in a Belgian farmhouse.

The 21 pictures sold for a total of 118,000 ($223,000; 176,000 euros) - well over what had been predicted.

Jefferys, the firm of auctioneers which offered them, say they are convinced they are the work of the Nazi leader.

As a young soldier in World War I, Adolf Hitler was stationed in Belgium.

Authenticity questioned

The pictures are studies of cottages and quiet country scenes.

However, what the art world calls 'provenance' - the history of ownership and location - is far from complete.

The pictures found their way to Lostwithiel, a small town in Cornwall, after the same auctioneers sold a single work last year, also supposedly by Hitler. That picture had been owned by a local man.

The anonymous Belgian seller of this more extensive collection then reportedly contacted the firm after that sale.

Jefferys insist the seller did everything possible to authenticate the pictures.

As a young man, Hitler is known to have been a fairly prolific painter.

Such sales will always remain contentious, with some querying authenticity and others questioning the morality of making money from the work of the Nazi leader.

For the most part, the better-known auction houses have avoided selling works attributed to Hitler.

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