Adolf Hitler painting may have hung in Sigmund Freud's surgery
The Jewish psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud might have had a painting by Hitler hanging on the wall of his office, it has been disclosed.
A watercolour by the German dictator has come to light that has an inscription on the back that bears the name of Freud's medical practice in Vienna.
While Freud was based in the Austrian city in 1910 it is possible he or one of his staff bought the picture from the struggling artist.
Hitler was a jobbing painter at the time, knocking out postcards and paintings and trying to make a living.
This painting, that measures 8in by 4in, shows what looks like a small church with a background of mountains and is signed "A Hitler 1910."
On the reverse are the Italian words: "Studio Medico Sigmund Freud Vienne."
The painting was taken from Vienna to Italy after the Second World War by an American GI who was told the picture had hung in Freud's consulting rooms.
It raises the tantalising prospect that Hitler and Freud - two giants of the 20th century - were connected by the painting, and might even have met 100 years ago.
Both were in Vienna at the same time and it is said that Jews in the city helped Hitler sell his art.
Freud was driven out of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and moved to England where he lived all his life.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Mullock's auctioneers, is selling the painting with a pre-sale estimate of up to 10,000 pounds.
He said: "The possibility that this watercolour once hung on the walls of Freud's consulting rooms in Vienna may seem on the face of it completely bizarre.
"But both men were in Vienna at the same time and we know Hitler was selling his paintings, so it is quite possible that Freud had one on the wall.
"We will never know for certain whether this was Freud's, but it raises the tantalising prospect that the two men might have met.
"Freud famously conducted a psychoanalysis on the composer Gustav Mahler, who was also a Vienna resident, at this time.
"The vendor is Italian and he said it came back from Vienna with an American GI after the second world war. The GI said it had hung in Freud's rooms.
"On the reverse are words in Italian that say "Sigmund Freud's Medical Study, Vienna." It looks as if it has come from a sketch book.
"The scene in the painting is typical of that which Hitler was painting at the time.
"He would paint postcards and also go around people's houses and ask them if they wanted a watercolour of their property.
"It is known that Hitler was popular amongst the Jewish community of Vienna in those days.
"It was the Jewish people who helped him with the sale of his paintings and sketches - one of the most ironic facts of 20th century history.
"This was a time long before the birth of the Nazi Party and long before Hitler's abominable anti-Semitism came to the fore.
"It is therefore quite possible - though supremely ironic - that the great Sigmund Freud could have had a painting by Hitler hanging on the walls of his consulting rooms."
The vendor is from Italy and the sale in Ludlow, Shropshire, takes place on March 2.