Hitler statue by Maurizio Cattelan sells for £12 million at Christie's auction house

'Hitler is pure fear; it’s an image of terrible pain'

Maurizio Cattelan's Hitler statue, Him
Maurizio Cattelan's Hitler statue, Him

A statue of Hitler on his knees by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has sold at auction for an earth-shattering $17.2 million (£12 million).

Titled Him, the wax sculpture was expected to make between $10million and $15 million at Christie's auction house in New York.

Having made well over the estimated amount, the sale set a record for the Italian satirical artist, best known for La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) - a sculpture of Pope John Paul II having been hit by a meteorite. Cattelan’s previous record was $7.9 million for a statue of himself peeping through a hole in the floor.

Completed in 2001, Him is supposed to disrupt the viewers sense, with the work appearing like a small child from behind, yet with Hitler’s face offering a sinister contrast.

Him - a sculpture of Hitler - by Maurizio Cattelan

Describing the piece, the 55-year-old artists said: “Hitler is pure fear; it’s an image of terrible pain. It even hurts to pronounce his name. And yet that name has conquered my memory, it lives in my head, even if it remains taboo.

“Hitler is everywhere, haunting the spectre of history; and yet he is unmentionable, irreproducible, wrapped in a blanket of silence.

The work previously caused controversy when it was installed in a former Warsaw Ghetto, a place where thousands of Jews died under Nazi rule.

“I’m not trying to offend anyone,” Cattelan continued. “I don’t want to raise a new conflict or create some publicity; I would just like that image to become a territory for negotiation or a test for our psychoses.”

Earlier this year, the artist revealed he would be returning to the Guggenheim Museum in New York to install a new artwork: a solid gold toilet titled America which patrons of the gallery may use.

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