The Murder Artist
The fact that Adolf Hitler aspired as a young man to be an artist is sufficiently well known to have passed into the common stock of allusion. (“Hitler—there was a painter,” quips a character in Mel Brooks’s The Producers. “He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon. Two coats!”) Similarly, most culturally literate people know of Hitler’s interest in the music of Richard Wagner. But, with few exceptions, biographers, historians, and commentators have seldom sought to connect these seemingly unrelated phenomena—to consider, that is, the possibility that Hitler’s artistic interests might have been central to his character, or have had a significant effect on his political career.
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.