Images of 'Hitler's Private Gallery' Now Online

Photo of "Cupid Complaining to Venus," by Lucas Cranach the ElderThere are probably few people about whom more words have been written than Adolf Hitler. But today the Library of Congress has helped add to the visual dimension surrounding one of the most reviled figures in history.

You might have seen news a couple of weeks ago about a painting in Britain’s National Gallery. The Gallery announced that the 1525 painting “Cupid Complaining to Venus,” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, was once part of Hitler’s private collection. And the Library provided the proof.

The Library’s Prints and Photographs Division (P&P) supplied the National Gallery with a copy of a photo of the Cranach oil-on-wood painting contained in an album called “The Private Gallery of Adolf Hitler.” The photos in the album depict 74 paintings and two tapestries in Hitler’s private art collection.

The album is one of nearly 2,000 items included in the Library’s Third Reich Collection, which is housed in both the Prints and Photographs and the Rare Books and Special Collections divisions. The total number of photo albums in the collection is 548.

Today P&P posted online images from the entire album, known by its German title “Katalog der Privat-Gallerie Adolf Hitlers,” here. (Go to page 58 to see the Cranach image in question, which is also reproduced at right.)

The National Gallery knew the photo of the painting existed, thanks to researcher Dr. Birgit Schwartz, who had been studying Hitler’s art collecting and spotted the painting’s photo at the Library. After getting the tip from Schwartz, the National Gallery approached the Library.

Archivist Alan Crookham corresponded via e-mail with P&P reference assistant Kristi Finefield. She tracked down the album, found the photo and confirmed with Crookham that the images matched. Finefield then photographed the photo and sent it off to the National Gallery.

Thanks to the excellent reference service from the Library, not to mention the value of visual collections, the National Gallery was able to announce the fascinating history of its painting. And now the entire album is online for the world to see.

For more information on the Third Reich Collection, visit this link.

(Thanks to Donna Urschel for help writing this post)

9 Comments

  1. DOMENICO AUGENTI
    April 18, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    THE LAST ESSAY BY DOMENICO AUGENTI ON THE WOMAN OF HOLD ROME

    BY QUASAR EDITIONS ROME ([email protected]) IT HAS BEEN PUBLISHED “MOMENTI E IMMAGINI DELLA DONNA ROMANA” BY DOMENICO AUGENTI, AUTHOR OF “SPETTACOLI DEL COLOSSEO NELLE CRONACHE DEGLI ANTICHI” BY L’ERMA DI BRETSCHNEIDER EDITIONS.

  2. Malcolm Lambe
    April 21, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I just Dugg it for you. “The Third Reich Collection, a miscellany of books, albums, and printed materials from the Reichskanzlei Library in Berlin and the private book collections of several high-ranking Nazi Party officials, was discovered in a salt mine near Berchtesgaden among Nazi property that has been removed from Berlin during the last stages of World War II. The so-called Hitler Library was screened by the U.S. Army Document Center in Munich and shipped to the Library of Congress in 1946. A large number of the 1,019 volumes transferred to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division are official presentation copies which bear dedications, notes of transmittal, or in some cases Hitler’s eagle bookplate. Several books were acquired by Hitler before 1930. The Third Reich Collection also includes a set of Die Alte Garde spricht, a series of typed autobiographies of Nazi Party members; a Braille edition of Mein Kampf; and materials from the libraries of Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Franz Zaver Schwarz, and other Nazi leaders.

    The other seventy photo albums from the Third Reich Collection have been transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. Most of the albums were prepared as gifts for party leaders and contain photographs of German cities, official construction projects, scenic points of interest, art works, and Nazi activities. Some albums include German captions.”

  3. Bob Meade
    April 22, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Thanks Matt. Interesting story.

  4. Sandra
    June 5, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Hitler was the worst person !

  5. Recycling Mike
    June 8, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks for this post. I went through the entire sequence of images in the gallery, through your link, and it’s an amazingly rich resource, not just for art-lovers. Now, if only there were text descriptions of each image depicted online, that would have enhanced the experience.

  6. Selena
    June 10, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Hitler was one of the iconic figures in the human history and the collection of images is exemplary. Thanks to to researcher Dr. Birgit Schwartz, who had been studying Hitler’s art collecting and spotted the painting’s photo at the Library and also those who have made this post possible…

  7. برامج جوال
    July 6, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for this post. I went through the entire sequence of images in the gallery, through your link, and it’s an amazingly rich resource, not just for art-lovers. Now, if only there were text descriptions of each image depicted online, that would have enhanced the experience

  8. greg e
    September 10, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    interesting topic..but why is hitler such a bad person, when he resurected the German Populance and restablished the German Economy? ( yes i do know that my spelling is a bit off on occasion…)

  9. J Diehl Art
    April 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Very interesting. I’ve been curious as to what he had collected if collected is even the right word to use in this case.

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