Kneeling Hitler Sculpture Finds Buyer At $17.2M

May 9, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A kneeling Hitler sculpture has been sold for $17.2 million. The Adolf Hitler sculpture titled Him, which was designed by Maurizio Cattelan, is not the artist’s most controversial work – that title goes to 2004’s Par Peur de l’Amour, which is a sculpture of an elephant hiding under a bedsheet, the whole thing resembles a Ku Klux Klan uniform.

Kneeling Hitler sculpture

The Kneeling Hitler sculpture, commonly known simply as Him, has been sold for the whopping price of $17.2 million – many experts predicted that the piece would go for $15 million.

The controversial sculpture was purchased by an unknown buyer on Sunday during an auction at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in New York. The “Bound to Fail” auction features 39 works curated by Loic Gouzer, Christie’s deputy chairman of post-war and contemporary art.

Him was designed by famous Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who is known for his satirical sculptures, including La Nona Ora, (also known as The Ninth Hour), depicting Pope John Paul II being struck down by a meteorite, L.O.V.E, which is a 36-foot white marble sculpture middle finger pointing away from Borsa Italiana in Milan and Not Afraid of Love, which consists of an elephant sculpture hiding under a large white sheet yet appearing to be a Ku Klux Klan uniform.

Mr. Cattelan came up with the concept of The Kneeling Hitler sculpture in 2001, which is a simple sculpture that looks like a schoolboy kneeling in prayer from behind, except that the head has been replaced with the realistic likeness of Adolf Hitler. The sculpture was frequently displayed at the end of a long hallway or the opposite end of a white room, turned away from the viewer so that they would not be able to recognize the individual until they advanced close enough. It was also placed in the courtyard in the former Warsaw Ghetto, a Jewish residential district in Warsaw Poland, which was the largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Experts describe Cattelan’s style as followed:

“Cattelan’s personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. Cattelan is highly recognized for several works that utilize taxidermy, a practice of his that flourished during the mid-1990s. These works are designed to connect humans and animals through the projections of human emotions which the former places on the latter.”

Cattelan spoke about his work in a past interview saying:

“That’s probably the greatest thing about Warhol: the way he penetrated and summarized our world, to the point that distinguishing between him and our everyday life is basically impossible, and in any case useless.”

Mr. Gouzer stated:

“…the artist defied the taboos of representation by disguising evil incarnate under a cloak of innocence.”

The previous auction record for a work by Cattelan was $7.9 million – it was Par Peur de l’Amour.


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