Final Considerations  
           
           
    Other Knirr Portraits of Hitler  
           
In the course of this research two other Knirr portraits of Hitler were discovered. For specific reasons they were not included in the main body of the text. The left image was the frontpiece for the April 1939 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung.(34) The issue was published in honor of Hitler's 50th birthday. The unsigned truncated composition suggests the image may have been cut down for publication purposes.
           
The right image appeared in a 1938 Hoffmann publication titled, "Official Portraits of Adolf Hitler and the Leaders of the Third Reich."(35) The book is a catalog of Hoffmann photos as well as prints of paintings by Knirr and other artists. The images could be purchased in a variety of sizes. Prints of Knirr's 1935, 1937 and 1938 Hitler portraits are included and listed as from an "Original Painting by Prof. H. Knirr, München." The right image is ascribed to Knirr but not listed as from an original painting. The image is clearly a hand-colored photograph and only Hoffmann would have been allowed to photograph Hitler in such a relaxed state.
           
 
Heinrich Knirr
"Portrait of Adolf Hitler" 1939

H. Knirr Colored Photo
"Hitler Reading" ca.1939
           
           
  Goering's "Portrait of Hitler"  
           
In David Irving's book, Goering, Irving makes reference to "Knirr's painting of the Führer."(36) In the Notes from that chapter, he mentions a Carinhall inventory from Feb.1, 1940. Carinhall was Goering's lavish residence. A copy of this inventory is held at the Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson Library.(37) In the inventory it lists two paintings of Hitler by Knirr, one in the "Grosse Halle" and the other in the "Grosse Arbeitszimmer." Both of these listings state they were gifts to Goering from Hitler on January 12, 1937 which is Goering's birthday. Apparently the text is a compilation of several previous inventories and accounts for the double listing. In actuality Goering owned only one portrait of Hitler by Knirr.(38)
           
I e-mailed Mr. Irving asking if he knew the painting or had an image of the painting. I received the following reply: "Göring collection in the photo library of the Library of Congress. Magnificent full-size original albums of photos (more than legal size) of the interior of Carinhall."(39) I received special permission from the Library of Congress to view these images in the hope of seeing the portrait on one of the interior walls. Most of the images were of Goering greeting dignitaries. These were normally done with flash photography and as a result the background walls were underexposed and virtually black. The below left photo was typical of an interior image. Some images showed recognizable paintings but none was a portrait of Hitler.(40)
           

Goering Greeting United States Undersecretary of State, Sumner Welles, in 1940

Goering and Sumner Wells in 1940
Viewing Cranach Painting
           
Subsequently, a client forwarded a copy of a book review of Hitlers Museum, Hitler's Museum, titled Under Deconstruction by Ms. Nancy Yeide.(41) Her bio stated she was preparing a book on Goering's painting collection. I sent an e-mail to her and received the following reply which put an end to my three-month search for the painting.
           
"Regarding the Knirr, of which I attach a black and white image, it is signed and dated from 1935, measured roughly 100 x 72 cm, oil on canvas. It was shipped with the bulk of the Goering collection from Carinhall to Berchtesgaden in early 1945, and recovered there by the Allies. In August of 1945 it was shipped, with the rest of the recovered Goering collection, to the Munich Central Collecting Point. At the time of shipment it was assigned the number G850, which you see scrawled on the upper left corner of the picture. From Munich it was sent in June of 1949 to the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, where it was destroyed as Nazi propaganda. The image I attach is from the Munich Central Collecting Point, no. 5648/603."(42)
           
The painting is the 1935 Knirr portrait after Hoffmann's photo. It was in Hitler's personal collection for two years until he gave it to Goering in 1937.
           
 
Heinrich Knirr "Portrait of Adolf Hitler" 1935
 
           
           
     1940    
           
Although Knirr lived until 1944, the examined portraits of Hitler all date from 1935 to 1939 . What happened? There should have been a lucrative market for his work and yet after 1939 there is nothing. Reproduced below is his entry card for the 1940 Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung. There is a line through the 4711 inventory number indicating the piece was rejected.(43) How can it be that this artist, so revered in 1937, having completed the Official Portrait of Hitler for the inaugural Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung, was rejected outright from the 1940 exhibit? Did he fall from grace for some unknown reason? Did his non-Aryan birth prevent further commissions? Did he personally question the direction of the Nazi movement? These are some of the enigmatic questions surrounding the artistic career of Heinrich Knirr, München.
           

Heinrich Knirr 1940 Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung Entry Card
           
           
           
Footnotes        
(34) Image courtesy of a private collector. The image is also used as the frontpiece to an edition of Joachim Fest's Hitler.
(35) The author wishes to thank Mr. Charles Turner for the gift of this catalog.
(36) David Irving Goering. 1989, p. 294.
(37) Günther Haase. Die Kunstsammlung des Reichsmarschalls Hermann Göring. Berlin 2000. pp. 222 and 229. The inventory mistakingly refers to Knirr as "Alfred Knirr" instead of Heinrich Knirr.
(38) This information was provided by Ms. Nancy Yeide, head, Department of Curatorial Records, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Her book on Goering's painting collection is in preparation with Akademie Verlag, Berlin an awesome task considering there were 1,400 paintings.
(39) Personal e-mail dated September 22, 2004    
(40) Images courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington. D.C.
(41) Museum News A publication of the American Association of Museums. September/October 2004 p. 22.  Hitlers Museum: Die Fotoalben Gemälde-galerie Linz was written by Birgit Schwartz, Vienna, Austria. The client was Mr. Joel Zwert, Director of Exhibitions, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(42) Personal e-mail dated October 27, 2004 from Ms. Nancy Yeide, head, Department of Curatorial Records, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
(43) The card and information reproduced with the courtesy of Ms. Sabine Brantl, Archivist, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany.
           
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