Who is the kindly woman in this 1940s portrait with her plump cheeks and playful smile? Why it could be anyone’s sister, grandmother or benevolent distant aunt.
…Or it could be the long-dead mistress of one of the 20th centuries most despised human beings.
The original portrait was commissioned in 1941
Discovered after more than seventy years, this original oil painting of Eva Braun, Hitler’s favourite squeeze, was created by the artist Hans Lehmkuhl in 1941, and was passed from Braun to her close friend Countess Antonia Isabelle Clementine, Grafin von Westphalen zu Furstenberg in 1943.
The portrait stayed with the family until being recently sold, with the piece expected to fetch more than £6,000 when it goes to auction in Shropshire in the next few weeks.
'More cheese, dear?'
The painting was commission as the official Nazi state portrait of Braun, who perished with Hitler in the Berlin bunker shortly after the pair were married in 1945.
“This head and shoulders portrait is a fascinating piece of history and shows Eva Braun in colour,” said Richard Westwood-Brookes of Mullock’s auction rooms in Ludlow.
Quite right, Richard – but perhaps not one to hang over the mantle as a statement piece…