The New European - - Eurofile | Art -

Hitler pro­duced hun­dreds of paint­ings when try­ing to earn a liv­ing as an artist in Vi­enna, in the years lead­ing up to the First World War. He sought admission to the Vi­enna Academy of

Fine Arts in the 1900s but was re­jected twice.

Franco’s paint­ing pas­time is less well known. This se­cret hobby came to light in 2011, with the pub­li­ca­tion of a book writ­ten by his grand­son, who de­scribed how the Caudillo had been en­cour­aged to paint by his per­sonal physi­cian, as a way to re­lax from the stresses of gov­ern­ing.

In the book, 15 art­works were re­pro­duced, in­clud­ing a self por­trait of the late Span­ish dic­ta­tor wear­ing mil­i­tary uni­form and hold­ing binoc­u­lars, sev­eral of his daugh­ter Carmen, and scenes de­pict­ing hunt­ing and sail­ing, two of his favourite pur­suits. The fi­nal can­vas at­trib­uted to Franco is of a sail­ing boat sinking in stormy wa­ters.

Dwight Eisen­hower took up paint­ing in earnest in 1948. He is said to have been en­cour­aged to take his hobby more se­ri­ously by Churchill – al­though, like Franco, he may also have been fol­low­ing doc­tor’s orders in us­ing the ac­tiv­ity as a means of stress re­lief.

Eisen­hower, who be­came US pres­i­dent in 1953, claimed he had the most op­por­tu­nity to paint when he was in the White House, be­cause his time was so well man­aged. He would some­times present ‘paint by num­ber’ kits to vis­i­tors to the Oval Of­fice.

At his Get­tys­burg home, the porch be­came his paint­ing stu­dio. ‘Ike’ pro­duced around

260 paint­ings dur­ing the last 20 years of his life.

Vi­enna State Opera House by Adolf Hitler, 1912

The Mex­i­can by Dwight D. Eisen­hower, 1953

Bear and Hounds by Fran­cisco Franco

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