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Saatchi buys Himmler portrait for gallery

Feb. 3, 2008 at 5:38 PM

LONDON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Noted art collector Charles Saatchi is taking a gamble with the newest addition to his London gallery, a portrait of notorious Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler.

While the 64-year-old collector is no stranger to controversy after supporting artists known for their unusual artistic approaches, the purchase of the Himmler painting could spark a response from Britain's Jewish community, The Sunday Times of London said.

The potentially controversial painting was created by artist Jasper Joffe, whose father is Jewish, and was purchased by Saatchi for nearly $6,000.

The painting features the man who planned the Holocaust wearing a lime-green uniform that is devoid of any Nazi symbols and typical regalia.

"There's no artist on Earth other than Jasper Joffe who would have painted Himmler this way, using these brush strokes and candy colors," Saatchi said of his most recent purchase. "When Joffe hits it right he is really pretty good."

The 32-year-old artist also defended the work, saying it was simply a recreation of history.

"It's not about making Nazis look good or disputing anything they did," Joffe told the Times. "In my paintings, they are real again, not just images or symbols of evil."

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