LOUISVILLE, KY., JAN. 2 -- A Louisville doctor, saying he admires Adolf Hitler's "genius" but not his evil deeds, bid $36,000 for a watercolor of Old Vienna the Nazi leader did many years before he led the world to war.
Dr. Donald Wright outbid Barry Martin, of Borden, Ind., at the New Year's Day auction for the 9-by-15-inch painting, which shows Old Vienna's Karls Church, Hero's Bridge and a horse-drawn carriage.
The painting had been obtained for the Den of Steven gallery by a Louisville art agent from a retired Michigan auto executive who demanded anonymity.
"Adolf Hitler certainly is not someone to be admired," the internist said, adding that he purchased the painting "because of the side of the man that I consider to be genius."
Wright started the bidding at $25,000 and the crowd of up to 400 people applauded when Martin gave up and the winning bid was accepted by auctioneer Steven White, gallery owner.
About 25 demonstrators invoked the memory of Hitler's Holocaust victims, chanting, "Their ashes for Den of Steven's profit" shortly before the auction began.
The watercolor, signed by Hitler, was done about 1910 when he was 21 and worked in the Austrian capital while unsuccessfully trying twice to gain admission to Vienna's Fine Arts Academy. White said the painting's authenticity was fully documented.
Hitler sold numerous paintings to support himself but ordered his works collected and destroyed after coming to power in the 1930s.