Italian artist sells contentious Adolf Hitler statue for €15m

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Maurizio Cattelan's 'Him', a statue of Adolf Hitler, sold at auction for €15.1 million. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP
12:09 CEST+02:00
A provocative statue of the German dictator Adolf Hitler by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has sold at auction for €15.1 million.

Called 'Him', the wax and resin statue depicts Hitler as a schoolboy, kneeling in prayer and dressed in a grey wool suit, Rai News reported.

Before going under the hammer on Monday at Christie's in New York, the piece had been expected to make around two thirds of its final price.

“There was a lot of interest in the piece thanks to its ability to break the boundaries between art and popular culture,” Rai news reported the auction's curator, Loic Gouzer, as saying.

The statue is now the artist's most expensive work, beating his previous record of €5.46 million set by 'Untitled' - a statue of Cattelan peeking up through the floor, which sold at auction in 2001.

'Untitled' by Cattelan sold in 2001 for €5.46 million. Photo: Astrid Westrang/Flickr

Originally from the Venetian city of Padua, the 55-year-old began his artistic career as a furniture maker in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, in the 1980s and began submitting artwork to galleries shortly afterwards.

Cattelan's 'La Nona Ora' (The Ninth Hour) shows Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteor. Photo: Mark B. Schelmmer/Flickr

He is known for his highly provocative and controversial works, which include a life-size statue of Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteorite and 'L.O.V.E' - a giant hand showing the middle finger to anybody who passes in front of Milan's stock exchange.

'L.O.V.E' stands outside Milan's Borsa (stock exchange). Photo: Jaqueline Poggi/Flickr

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Cattelan's latest work, entitled 'America', will soon go on display at the Guggenheim museum in New York. The piece will be an 18-carat-gold public toilet, which visitors will be able to use.

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