Author & Speaker

A True Collector, part 1

While in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Harlan Crow Library, which is in Mr. Crow’s home.  It was an amazing treat.  After making our way past a couple of Charles Willson Peale portraits, we proceeded into his World War II room (or so I call it).

On one wall, two rather pedestrian landscapes by Dwight Eisenhower, from the honorable paint-by-numbers school.

On a two facing walls were paintings by Winston Churchill, one of which was really quite good (a Mediterranean hill town, somewhat impressionistic).

In a corner, two paintings by . . . well . . . Adolph Hitler.  They were small, and showed technical skill.  As Mr. Crow suggested, they are more architectural studies than paintings — they are of buildings, perhaps like the following (also a Hitler):

The courtyard of the old residency at Munich (1913), by A. Hitler

Was it creepy, you ask?  Absolutely.  I wondered, but did not ask, what the market for original Hitlers is like?  I don’t feel any moral outrage over the paintings.  Mr. Crow is a collector, and Hitler is an historical figure of undoubted significance.  And his display makes a statement of sorts:  three leading figures of World War II, and all tried painting.

Still, of course, creepy.

Oh, also, Mr. Crow had a seventh painting in the room, on an easel.  George W. Bush had dropped by the day before and left a painting he had recently completed of a Texas canyon.  Surprised the hell out of me, as Bush never seemed the artistic type to me.  He has room for improvement, but he’s way better than I would be.

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