Summary of “How One of Hitler’s Favorite Works of Art Got Stolen-Twice”

On December 12, 1976, the performance artist Ulay walked into the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, snatched Carl Spitzweg’s “The Poor Poet” off the wall, and ran out the emergency exist with the framed painting slung under his right arm, alarms blaring behind him.
It’s all fun and performance art until a painting actually gets stolen.
Writing on “The Poor Poet’s” second-and currently final-theft, Hagen and Hagen explain that the thieves were motivated by “The painter’s extraordinary popularity in Germany, where a survey of people’s favorite paintings revealed”The Poor Poet” in second place, behind Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and in front of Albrecht Durer’s Hare.”.
Given Spitzweg’s high profile as a German artist and his romanticized take on German life, it is perhaps no surprise that Hitler-a famously failed artist himself-took a shine to the late local hero.
Spitzweg is thought to have been one of Hitler’s favorite artists.
Among the artists working in this era, Hitler “Also thought highly of Spitzweg although what he admired was not so much the bold and often impressionistic brushwork as the staunch middle-class genre quality, the affable humor with which Spitzweg gently mocked the small-town Munich of his period.”
In a video interview with the Louisiana Channel in 2017, Ulay explained that he chose to steal “The Poor Poet” because “You could say [it] was a German identity icon. Besides, it was Hitler’s favorite painting.”
In 2015, he told author Dominic Johnson for his book The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art that the only image printed in color in his school textbook in the 1940s in Germany was this painting.

The orginal article.