Gemäldegalerie Linz Albums
black leather-bound photograph album
13.6 in x 15 in. (34.54 x 38.10 cm); 3 in. (7.62 cm) thick
12.5 lbs. (5.67 kg)
When Adolf Hitler made his final selection of the works of art that he intended to include in the Gemäldegalerie Linz, commonly referred to as the Führermuseum, thirty-one albums known as Gemäldegalerie Linz albums were created for the Führer’s personal use. Each contained exquisite photographs of the selected works, and were among his most treasured possessions.
Albums I-VIII, XX-XXVIII, and XXX-XXXI were discovered at the end of the war. Eighteen were in Berchtesgaden in the study of the Berghof, Hitler’s retreat in the Bavarian Alps. One album (Album XX, the only sculpture album) was found at the home of Hitler’s private secretary, Martin Bormann. After the war, the nineteen albums were sent to the Munich Central Collecting Point where they were examined by Monuments Man Lt. S. Lane Faison, Jr., USNR, who used them as a source for his ALIU report on Linz.
At the end of World War II, US soldiers entered Adolf Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps, and many of them, including Pvt. John Pistone, picked up trinkets as souvenirs and proof that they had been inside. Pistone took an album filled with photographs of paintings, and for sixty-four years the album sat on a bookshelf in his home in Ohio; its significance unknown, until a friend of his contacted the Monuments Men Foundation.
Through the efforts of the Monuments Men Foundation, Album XIII was reunited with the other nineteen albums located at Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. This album is particularly significant because it contains works by German 19th century painters so beloved by Hitler. Hans Makart’s Die Pest in Florenz (The Plague in Florence), for example, the first picture of Album XIII, was received by Hitler as a gift from Mussolini who seized them from the Jewish family.
This album, like the other still-missing eleven albums, were thought to have been destroyed during the war. Scholars believed that their last known location was the Wolfsschanze, or Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s headquarters on the eastern front. That this album was located at Berchtesgaden was quite a revelation and makes it increasingly likely others will eventually be found.
Each album contains approximately fifty works of art. Underneath every photo is handwritten in blue or white ink the work’s title, its artist, dimensions, and periodically the creation date. The albums’ covers are a cream-colored canvas bound in black goat leather. The words “GEMÄLDE-GALERIE LINZ” and the album number in Roman numerals are embossed on the spine in gold ink. The pages are grey card stock. Today, all twenty albums are at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin; sixteen are on display.
Albums IX-XII; XIV-XIX; and XXIX are still missing.