House of German Art (Haus der Deutschen Kunst)

The House of German Art was described by Hitler as "the first beautiful building of the new Reich" and "a temple for genuine and eternal German art." In designing the structure in 1933, Hitler already revealed his plan for eventual war by providing for an air raid shelter in the basement. Irreverent locals nicknamed the building "the Athens railway station" and "a sausage stand."
Troost's original plans
How Prinzregentstrasse was intended to look, with the Bavarian Prime Minister's residence in the background
Troost and Hitler in front of a model of the building in 1933
Josef Wilk's Porträt Prof. Troost showing the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in the background, now at the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Behind is Adolf Wissel's Kahlenberger Bauernfamilie which had been included in the Großen Deutschen Kunstausstellung of 1939 at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst : Farm Family From Kahlenberg.
Golden model presented by Hermann Göring to Hitler on the latter's 50th birthday

Hitler viewing the progress on the construction of the House of German Art with architects Professor Gall and Albert Speer. The right shows the plaque engraved on bronze over the entrance reading "Die Kunst ist eine erhabene und zum Fanatismus Verpflichtende Mission" (Art is an Ennobling Mission Demanding Fanaticism).
The Haus der Deutschen Kunst ("House of German Art") at Prinzregentenstrasse 1 was constructed from 1934 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich's first monumental propaganda building. Its inaugural exhibition was the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung ("Great German art exhibition"), which was intended as an edifying contrast to the concurrent Entartete Kunst exhibition.
Numerous activities were scheduled for that day, such as a procession through town depicting “2,000 years of German culture.” In the presence of the Führer, a performance of Tristan und Isolde in the Munich National Theatre opened the festivities. The dedication of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in the Prinzregentenstrasse took place on July 19. Hitler had laid the cornerstone there in 1933. The new building was to serve as a replacement for the old “Glass Palace,” that had been an art gallery located at the old Botanical Garden. In former times, art collections had been exhibited in the building until it had been completely destroyed by a fire in 1931. The opening of an art exhibition complemented the dedication of the new building. The Essential Hitler (489)
 Hitler at the official cornerstone laying October 15, 1933

Hitler and Himmler at the opening, 1937
Hitler formally opened the ”House of German Art” in Munich in a drab, pseudoclassic building which he had helped design and which he described as ”unparalleled and inimitable” in its architecture. In this first exhibition of Nazi art were crammed some nine hundred works, selected from fifteen thousand submitted, of the worst junk this writer has ever seen in any country. Hitler himself made the final selection and, according to some of the party comrades who were with him at the time, had become so incensed at some of the paintings accepted by the Nazi jury presided over by Adolf Ziegler, a mediocre painter who was president of the Reich Chamber of Art, that he had not only ordered them thrown out but had kicked holes with his jack boot through several of them. ”I was always determined,” he said in a long speech inaugurating the exhibition, ”if fate ever gave us power, not to discuss these matters [of artistic judgement] but to make decisions.” And he had made them. In his speech – it was delivered on July 18, 1937 – he laid down the Nazi line for ”German art”:
Works of art that cannot be understood but need a swollen set of instructions to prove their right to exist and find their way to neurotics who are receptive to such stupid or insolent nonsense will no longer openly reach the German nation. Let no one have illusions! National Socialism has set out to purge the German Reich and our people of all those influences threatening its existence and character . . . With the opening of this exhibition has come the end of artistic lunacy and with it the artistic pollution of our people . . .

Hitler speaking at the opening of the third "Great German Art Exhibition" July 16, 1939 in the Ehrenhalle. From 1937 until 1944, the hall was used exclusively for opening exhibitions and holding press conferences, and every year the Nazis would meet here for the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung. It was Hitler who had determined that  the plinths and the wall and pillar covering of the three-nave sky-lit hall should be clad in blood-red marble from Tegernsee.  The omnipresence of the colour red, so prominent on the Nazi flag, served to reinforce the ubiquity of the National Socialist world view.

Hitler speaking in the Ehrenhalle July 18, 1937, and the site today
Exhibition from the time of the Third Reich and now, featuring "Svayambh," a gigantic sculpture by Anish Kapoor; the gallery now displays anything but German art. Leaning against a wall displaying the history of the building inside is the dedication to the gallery's original sponsors which used to feature much more prominently.

One artist honoured at the Haus der Kunst was Ai Wei Wei, an artist who knows only too well the constant threat of living under a capricious, totalitarian regime.
Then and now, photoshopped on the right with Hitler giving his speech at the opening, in which he expressed his great satisfaction that he, and not his political opponents, had erected the building:
In 1931, the National Socialist takeover was still so far off in the distant future that there was no way of foreseeing the construction of a new exhibition palace for the Third Reich. In fact, for a while it did seem as though the “men of November” would provide an edifice for the exhibition of art in Munich that would have had as little to do with German art as it, conversely, reflected the Bolshevist affairs and circumstances of their time. Many of you perhaps still recall the plans for that building that was intended for the old Botanical Garden that has now been given such a beautiful design. A building quite difficult to define. An edifice that could just as easily have been a Saxon thread factory as the market hall of a mid-sized city—or perhaps a train station, or then again even an indoor swimming pool. I need not press upon you how I suffered at the thought back then that the first misfortune would be fol- lowed by yet another. And that therefore, in this case in particular, I was truly glad, really happy about the faint-hearted lack of determination on the part of my political opponents at the time. In it lay the only chance of ultimately saving the erection of a palace for art exhibitions in Munich to become the first great undertaking of the Third Reich.
After the war, the building was used by the American occupation forces as an officer's mess; in that time, the building came to be known as the "P1", a shortening of its street address. The building's origins can still be seen such as in regards to the swastika-motif mosaics in the ceiling panels of its front portico.
"The New Age: Sacrifice, Faith and Loyalty" section during the July 18, 1937 "Two Thousand Years of German Culture" parade.
Excerpt from Nazi propaganda film of the summer 1939 German Art Festival in Munchen. On 15 and 16 October 1939, the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung inside the Haus der Deutschen Kunst was complemented by the monumental Tag der deutschen Kunst celebration of "2,000 years of Germanic culture" where luxuriously and pretentiously draped floats (one of them carrying a 5 meter tall golden Nazi Reichsadler) and thousands of actors in historical costumes paraded down Prinzregentenstraße for hours in the presence of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Albert Speer, Robert Ley, Reinhard Heydrich, and many other other high-ranking Nazis, with minor events taking place in the Englischer Garten nearby.
Some stills from the film:

Images from the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung in 1939 and 1940.
Hitler speaking inside the so-called "Ehrenhalle" [Hall of Honour] at the official opening of the third "Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung" July 16, 1939.

At the opening on July 16, 1939
One of the large exhibition halls of the "Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung" 1940

Rooms 22, 2 and 31
Porträt des Führers by Fritz Erler, 1939 and the interior today

Hilter at the Opening in 1940; the picture on the wall is Hans Happ’s Die Frucht der Erde and the sculpture on the right is Hans Plangger’s Abschied. Hitler would make a reappearance in Maurizio Cattelan's Him at the Haus der Kunst in 2003.
. Now a publicly accessible online archive of the images displayed reveals the full extent of the Nazi aesthetic -- and includes details about who bought which work of art.
Joseph Goebbels's speech at the opening of the 1941 art exhibition at the Haus der Kunst
Footage and Documentaries relating to Art and its importance to Hitler and the Third Reich:
Tag der Deutschen Kunst (1939)
German Art- In the Shadow of Hitler
Hitler's Art War- Provocative and engaging lecture by Godfrey Barker

The Prinz-Carl-Palais
Prince Carl-Palais is the official residence of the Bavarian Prime Minister; here German president Paul von Hindenburg and Prime Minister Heinrich Held leave the palace, 12 August 1925.
Hitler at the opening of the House of German Art with the the Prinz-Carl-Palais in the background, where Mussolini stayed in 1938 during the Munich Conference. Mussolini came here for the last time on September 18, 1943 after being rescued four days earlier in a remarkable coup de main at the Gran Sasso where il Duce had been interned at a mountain hotel, and brought to Germany.
Mussolini was brought to the Prince Carl Palace in Munich, from where he addressed the Italian people in a radio address that evening. During Hitler’s years of triumph in 1937 and 1938, Mussolini had always set up quarters at the Prince Carl Palace. But his speech now lacked the enthusiasm of earlier years. Mussolini cared about only one thing, his mistress Clara Petacci. He would not rest until Hitler finally had ϟϟ Obergruppenführer Sepp Dietrich bring her from Italy.
As seen from the photo from 1937, the reichsadler that had been added during the regime has been removed without any trace. In 1924 this became the residence of the Bavarian Prime Ministers.
 Surrounded by destruction in 1948. On the right is the ruined shell at the end of the war and today, restored with the Nazi eagle removed
 Building the altstadtringtunnel at Von-der-Tann-Straße in front of the Palais, completed in February 1937; the Haus der Kunst is on the left.


Donald Kuspit, discussing the ‘Entarte (sic) Kunst’ exhibition of 1937, has suggested that Hitler ‘had a vested interest in repression’ and a corresponding wish to exalt clear and unified images over those requiring debate and textual exegesis, and which therefore introduced the possibility of uncertainty. Hitler’s own words on this exhibition reveal a wish to erect a barrier between image and text: ‘Works of art that cannot be understood but need a swollen set of instructions to prove their right to exist...will no longer openly reach the German nation.’ When ‘art’ becomes propaganda, then image and text are not required to explain each other, but instead to participate in a mutual objectification.
In front of the former site of the 'Exhibition of Degenerate Art' which had officially opened July 19, 1937 at the same time with the first large one German art exhibition in the House of German art.
 According to William Shirer, the exhibition was an humiliating failure:
In another part of the city in a ramshackle gallery that had to be reached through a narrow stairway was an exhibition of ”degenerate art” which Dr. Goebbels had organised to show the people what Hitler was rescuing them from. It contained a splendid selection of modern paintings – Kokoschka, Chagall and expressionist and impressionist works. The day I visited it, after panting through the sprawling House of German Art, it was crammed, with a long line forming down the creaking stairs and out into the street. In fact, the crowds besieging it became so great that Dr. Goebbels, incensed and embarrassed, soon closed it.
In fact, Frederic Spotts argues the complete opposite:
In a mere two weeks between 600 and 700 works from around Germany were seized, dispatched to Munich and hung. The show opened on 19 July 1937 with some 650 works by 112 'art stutterers' from thirty-two public museums on display. It included examples from all the major schools of German painting and sculpture- Expressionism, Verism, Abstraction, Bauhaus, Dada, New Objectivity- and all the major artists. Although he had inspected the collection beforehand, Hitler did not deign to put in a public appearance once the exhibition opened. But he inaugurated it vicariously the day before in a raging speech. '...The end of madness in German art and, with it, the cultural destruction of our people has begun,' he proclaimed. 'From this moment we shall conduct a merciless war against the remnants of our cultural disintegration.' On he sputtered, reviling 'the cliques of chatterboxes, dilettantes and art swindlers.'
Like enemy prisoners being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum, the victims were to be seen and mocked by the crowd before being consumed. The show was deigned to demonstrate that Modernist art was not simply ugly, indecent and deranged but that it also directly assaulted traditional social mores by disparaging motherhood, military heroism, religion and whatever was healthy, clean and chaste.Hitler's criteria- post1910 German works- were generally followed, though stretched to include such adoptive Germans as Chagall and Jawlensky, and two non-Germans., Mondrian and Munch. The work by the good Nordic Munch caused such ideological indigestion that after a few days the room where it hung was closed. The paintings, presented in a way to heighten ridicule, were not so much displayed as plastered helter-skelter on the walls, though this may have resulted partly from the haste with which the show was assembled. To leave no doubt about their iniquity, the works were labelled with such propagandistic slogans as 'madness becomes a method', 'nature as seen by sick minds' and 'a insult to German womanhood.' Ensuring that no one could have the slightest doubt about the iniquity of the works, it is said that actors were sent to the exhibit to make raucous fun of what they saw.
It was the biggest blockbuster show of all time. Hitler ordered that entry should be without charge and encouraged the public to attend. And attend it did. One million people went in the first six weeks alone and more than two million in the remaining six months in Munich. Another million or so saw the exhibition when it travelled to twelve other cities between February 1938 and April 1941. By all accounts spectators went to bury, not to praise. 'It became increasingly obvious to me that most people had come to see the exhibition with the intention of disliking everything,' it was later commented. Some non-Nazis, some non-Germans also applauded. A Boston art critic commented, 'There are probably plenty of people- art lovers- in Boston, who will side with Hitler in this particular purge.' The Fuehrer was enormously pleased with the popular response. It appeared to prove his point that Modernism was an elitist phenomenon that had lost meaning for the great mass of the public. It further seemed to support his belief in 'the people as the judge of art.' So gratified was he, in fact, that at his direction a pamphlet with illustrations of the works accompanied by hostile commentary was published and widely circulated. He had achieved his purpose. The event was a stunning demonstration of his power to crush what he opposed. In so doing, he brought to an end the most exciting school of painting and sculpture in modern German history.
 Amongst those attacked are the sculptures shown here by Marg Moll, Otto Braun, Eugen Hoffmann and Rudolf Belling;
 The 'Dada Wall'
In the foreground left: Marg Moll's 'Tänzerin' (Dancer, around 1930) and in the foreground on the right: Otto Baum, 'Stehendes Mädchen' (Standing Girl, 1930)
The Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin has a miniature recreation of the exhibition's layout, from our 2013 school trip

In a Rediscovered Trove of Art, a Triumph Over the Nazis’ Will

However,  the 1938 law that allowed the Nazis to seize thousands of other Modernist artworks deemed “degenerate” because Hitler viewed them as un-German or Jewish in nature remains on the books to this day.

Named after Adolf Friedrich von Schack who, after settling at Munich, was made member of the academy of sciences. Here he began to collect a gallery of pictures, containing masterpieces of Romanticism with painters such as Anselm Feuerbach, Moritz von Schwind, Arnold Böcklin, Franz von Lenbach, Carl Spitzweg, Carl Rottmann, etc., and which, though bequeathed by him to the Emperor William II, still remains at Munich.  The building itself was designed by Max Littmann in 1907 next to the former diplomatic mission of Prussia in the Prinzregentenstrasse and still houses the museum since the kaiser decided to keep the collection in Munich. Here it is shown shortly after completion, bearing the scars of the war in 1946, and today. On February 1 1939 Hitler brought together art treasures that were formerly part of the Schack Gallery in Munich with works of art from the same period that previously had been in the possession of the Bavarian State. These objects of art were to be integrated in a permanent collection renamed the “Schack Gallery of German masters of the 19th century,” with its seat in Munich.The State of Bavaria would become the official proprietor of the gallery. The Bavarian Minister- President was to administer the collection “in accordance with the Führer’s instructions.” The new Schack gallery was to find a permanent home in the exhibition halls at the Königlicher Platz.

Luftgaukommando, Prinzregentenstraße
VII Regional HQ of the Luftwaffe)

Topping-out ceremony May 12, 1937 and today.
Built between 1935-1936 by the architect German Bestelmayer, this building still displays the steel helmets, eagles, and, incredibly (and illegally) swastika window grills today:

Inside the Nazi eagle still greets visitors, albeit sans swastika.

At night the grills are actually lit up from within the building even though the German Strafgesetzbuch in § 86a outlaws "use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations" as used on this government building:
right across the street is the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

According to Jonathan Petropoulos in The Faustian Bargain - The Art World in Nazi Germany "many Jewish galleries, like the renowned Bernheimer firm in Munich, were taken over by Aryan trustees. As the confiscated works mounted up, [museum director Ernst] Buchner cooperated with the Gestapo by making rooms available in the Bavarian National Museum."
Over the side door a Nazi eagle remains, missing only its swastika whilst at the other end a wreath is shorn of its offending symbol as well. This is within a wing at the southeast corner added by German Bestelmeyer in 1937. Bestelmeyer served as a professor at the Technical University, and from 1934 until his death in 1942 he was President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.  He had been an outspoken advocate of traditionalist, völkisch architecture. He was a member of the Munich School to which Paul Troost also belonged. In 1928, with Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Paul Schmitthenner and others, he founded "The Block", a group of architects in opposition to the modernist group The Ring. He was singled out for praise in 1931 by Schultze-Naumburg and in 1934, after the Nazis came to power, wrote an article in which he endorsed Alexander von Senger's criticism of Le Corbusier, described 1920s architecture as having become "soulless", and rejected flat roofs as unsuited to the climate in Germany. He was a member of both the Werkbund and the antisemitic Militant League for German Culture. He became a Reich Cultural Senator in 1935. He brought von Senger to the Bavarian Academy and designed buildings such as the Luftwaffe office building on the across the screen seen above, which were much praised at the time. However, he also designed a number of mostly Protestant churches, some of which met with official approval, and Hitler chose his design for the Mangfall Bridge, a girder bridge on two massive concrete pylons carrying one of the new autobahns, which was influential in its simple modernity and size.  Bestelmeyer died in 1942 at the resort of Bad Wiessee. On Hitler's orders, his body was brought back to Munich and after lying in state in the Academy of Fine Arts, transferred for the state funeral to the light-court of the University of Munich which he had designed, with 300 members of the Hitler Youth in attendance.
Inside lying in storage is the guillotine with which the Scholl siblings were executed.

One casualty of the Luftgaukommando was the Hubertusbrunnen, built from 1903-1907 after a design by Adolf Hildebrand in the form of a covered temple. Inside was the actual fountain and the statue of a deer. St. According to the legend of Hubertus found a stag located in the well house carrying a cross between its antlers. It was originally located in front of the Bavarian National Museum but removed in 1937 and in 1954 re-established at its current location.
Demolition work on Hubertusbrunnen in Prinzregentenstraße March, 1937. The Hubertusbrunnen is now located in the west of Munich at the eastern end of the Nymphenburg canal.
Munich's Angel of Peace (Friedensengel) at the other end of Prinzregentenstr. during the Day of German Art and today. Just beyond is Hitler's Residence- Prinzregentenplatz 16
The residence in 1937 and today. This was Hitler's residence which, from 1929, was paid for by Hitler's publisher until a decade later when Hitler paid for it outright. Hitler’s private apartment on the third floor of 16 Prinzregentenplatz was located in an apartment house and consisted of nine living rooms, two kitchens, two walk-in closets, two bathrooms, and furnishings. Hitler’s patron, Hugo Bruckmann, had procured the apartment for him. The annual rent was 4,176 marks. The term of the lease contract was first to run until April 1, 1934, with a six-month term of notice. Hitler moved into the apartment on October 1, 1929.
Angela Maria Raubal,nicknamed “Geli”, was born on June 4, 1908 in Linz. She was the daughter of the deputy head of the tax department, Raubal, and his wife Angela, born Hitler (from the second marriage of Hitler’s father, Alois). She studied singing in Munich, although her voice was only average. When Hitler took up residence at Prinzregentenplatz No. 16 in 1929, she got her own room in the huge but sinister apartment of her uncle. She committed suicide there on September 18, 1931. By the time Hitler returned from an engagement in Nuremberg, her corpse had already been removed. Hitler did not attend the funeral in Vienna but instead retreated to the home of his publisher Müller at the Tegernsee. He spent several days there in seclusion. His court photographer Heinrich Hoffmann was the only one allowed to accompany him. Many feared the shock of Geli’s unexpected death might lead him to commit suicide, too. On the anniversary of his niece’s death on September 18, 1932, Hitler secretly visited her grave in Vienna. Goebbels noted in his diary: “Führer gone to Vienna for private visit. Nobody knows about it so that there won’t be any crowds.” News of Hitler’s presence in Vienna leaked, however, and led to many political rumours. On Hitler’s orders, Geli’s room remained untouched. Before the war, he spent every Christmas Eve there in sentimental reflection.
Hitler also met with Mussolini there on September 25, 1937. During their hour-long summit conference, the German and Italian leaders agreed to continue supporting Francisco Franco in Spain, to seek better relations with Imperial Japan, and to oppose Franco-British policies that prevented their joint expansion of power and territorial acquisitions—a great strengthening of the Axis Pact of 1935 and the Anti-Comintern (Communist International) Pact of 1936.
On September 30, 1938, Hitler hosted Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at the apartment following the signing of the four-power Munich Pact, but before the signing of the Anglo-German Declaration that led Chamberlain to declare that he had brought “peace for our time” home with honour from Germany.
As for Hitler, he later boasted to his intimates: “I saw our enemies at Munich—they are little worms!” Because of the document signed in Hitler’s apartment, Chamberlain mistakenly thought they’d guaranteed European peace for a generation. Nazi Germany occupied the German Sudetenland—taken from the Czechs—the next day.
Hitler looking out from the balcony. After the American Army had entered Munich, it became the headquarters of an American Section. The furnishings were removed and the Munich Financing Office of the Land of Bavaria took up its quarters in the building and today the third floor is actually police station.
Kunstbunker Tumulka
Down the road on Prinzregentenstrasse 97, this was built in 1944 as a set of flats surrounded by bunkers, one of which serves as the venue for contemporary art exhibitions.
Model of the apartment complex. In this May 1945 photo on the right one can see both Hitler's residence in the top centre and the apartment at the bottom-left.

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