A superb bronze bust of Adolf Hitler, one of the most recognized Hitler bronzes, given by Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels to an attractive film actress who was accused of having acted as his spy in revealing anti-Nazi subversives in the German film industry. The 18 in. tall massive hollow bronze bust shows the dictator bearing a stern expression, and is a very true to life rendering. The rectangular 4 x 4 3/4 in. base bears three threaded holes which were once used to secure the bust to a larger base. The bronze bears a fine patina, with the foundry mark 'WMF GEISLINGEN-STG' (Wurttmburgische Metallwarenfabrik at Geislingen) on the bottom left of the base. The bust is also signed by the artist: 'H. M. Ley' on the left side of the neck. HEDWIG MARIA LEY (188-1974) was a talented sculptress who established her practice in Munich in 1930. In 1933 Joseph Goebbels commissioned her to create this bust, which immediately became vastly popular throughout Germany. According to a previous owner of the piece, this bust was owned by Goebbels who no doubt had several at his disposal to be offered as gifts. It was given by him to German film actress Kate Dyckhoff (d. 1998). The attractive young actress began her career in Germany in the Forties with the 1941 film 'Illusion' (directed by Veit Harlan, who also directed the notorious anti-Semitic film 'Jud Suss', 1940), and had her breakthrough with the 1943 film 'Akrobat scho-o-on!'. 1944 saw two particularly successful films for Dyckhoff, most notably 'Familie Buchholz'. We know that Goebbels himself attended the filming of that movie. There also is no disputing the fact that Goebbels was quite a lothario, carrying on affairs throughout his adulthood, including one with actress Lida Baarova, and earning himself the nickname 'the Ram'. After the war, Dyckhoff married an Englishman and took the name 'Katharina Williams'. She returned to Germany in 1950 for 'de-nazification' but faced questioning for having denounced an anti-Nazi judge and having been a confidante of Joseph Goebbels. The University of Hamburg today maintains much correspondence from German journalist and writer Axel Eggebrecht (1899-1981) condemning Dyckhoff as a (film industry) spy for Goebbels and a pro-Nazi subversive. He was in a position to know: in 1933 he was imprisoned for several months at the Hainewalde concentration camp, and after his release he used pseudonyms to eke out a living in the film industry as a screenwriter, assistant, and critic. Dyckhoff moved to Rome and in 1965 and gave the bust 'for services rendered' to a close family friend, a German aristocrat who was our consignor when we first sold this bust on Sep. 27, 2012. A copy of the original letter of provenance, 1p. 4to., Rome, Feb. 18, 1986 is written on Katharina Williams' Rome letterhead, in German. In full: 'CERTIFICATION [Consignor's name] confirms herewith to Katharina Williams (nee Dyckhoff) the receipt of a Hitler bust from the artist Maria Ley, from 1933. The bust was given to Mrs. Williams at the end of 1944 by Joseph Goebbels in Berlin as a present. [Consignor signature and typed name]'. Also present are two printed photos of Dyckhoff with our original consignor in Munich, 1984 and various additional research. Excellent condition, spotless and very fine.

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July 28, 2022 10:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $499 $20
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $999,999 $10,000
$1,000,000 $1,999,999 $50,000
$2,000,000 + $100,000