PERUGIA – The Teatro della Sapienza was full of people for the panel discussion and screening of the documentary Hitler against Picasso and others, directed by Paolo Poli with the participation and narrative voice of the actor Tony Servillo. The Director at Sky Arte, Roberto Pisoni, the Italian journalist, Sabina Fedeli, and the historian and professor at the University of Manchester, Jean-Marc Dreyfus, were also presents to the event to discuss about the details of the film.
Dreyfus is also one of the protagonists of the documentary and said that he is convinced that more similar art stories linked to Italy on this period of time will arrive in the future. The film is placed eighty years ago and tells the story about the Nazism laid its hands on art, trying to destroy all traces of works classified as ‘degenerate’ and implementing a systematic plundering of ancient and modern art throughout Europe.
The documentary shows that in 1937 the Nazi regime organised a public exhibition in Munich to brand the art considered contrary to Nazi values ‘cosmopolitan and Bolshevik’. At the same time, a raid of classical and ancient works began, guided by Hitler and Goering; masterpieces that should have occupied the spaces of what the Führer imagined as the Louvre of Linz, an architectural project that remained only on paper. Thus began the seizures in the museums of the occupied territories and in the houses of collectors, especially Jews, which then continued until the end of the war, with the subtraction of the artistic heritage of the countries invaded by German troops. The masterpieces of art considered ‘degenerate’ were sold at auctions and the proceeds placed in the state coffers, to then be used for the purchase of the art preferred by the regime.
Hitler against Picasso and others tells that four major exhibitions in 2017 took stock of what has happened to that treasure stolen by the Nazis and many of the protagonists of those years. The documentary shows the stories related to the fate of these paintings, guiding us to the discovery of the Dossier Gurlitt, rare archival materials, and the secret treasures of the Führer and Goering. A strong and unanimous applause started a few minutes before the end of the documentary. The film was produced by 3D Produzioni and Nexo Digital with the participation of Sky Arte HD and was released in March 2018.