GOP KINGMAKER’S SECRET DONATION TO GOVERNMENT-RUN MUSEUM FINALLY DRAWS LEGACY MEDIA SCRUTINY …
More than four months after our website exclusively reported on the controversy, South Carolina’s mainstream media is finally discussing how a prominent Republican fundraiser secretly displayed a painting from one of the most notorious figures in modern history.
As we noted in late September, the government-run Florence County Museum – which received millions in state tax dollars courtesy of powerful S.C. Senator Hugh Leatherman – featured an original watercolor painting by none other than Adolf Hitler, the infamous German warlord and exterminator of millions of Jews during World War II.
The painting – as we noted at the time – was contributed to the museum by Eddie Floyd, a Florence, S.C. heart surgeon and “Republican” mega-donor who has been a driving force in Palmetto politics for decades. In addition to being a GOP kingmaker, Floyd is also a member (and former chairman) of the board of trustees at the increasingly left-leaning University of South Carolina, the state’s largest government-run institution of “higher learning.”
And yes … we can’t wait to see how all the increasingly irascible safe space snowflakes at Floyd’s school respond to all this.
As we noted at the time, Floyd’s Hitler painting was included in the exhibit “In Times of War,” which according to the museum featured “loaned art and artifacts from private collections” – items which were displayed with the goal of providing “an overview of the Pee Dee’s rich material history relating to military conflicts, from pre-Civil War to WWII.”
It’s not clear how the painting (below) fit in with that theme …
(Click to enlarge)
(Cap via TripAdvisor)
Prior to the first World War, Hitler was an aspiring artist in Vienna, Austria. He made a modest living for himself on the city streets from 1908-1913, selling postcards and paintings to tourists. However, the future German Chancellor’s dreams of becoming a famous artist came to naught when he was denied admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907 and again in 1908.
How history might have changed had the future dictator had a bit more artistic talent, right?
Anyway … this week reporter John Monk at The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper ran what he described as an “exclusive” report on Floyd’s Hitler painting.
According to Monk’s belated report, Floyd “got rid of the Hitler painting after a State newspaper reporter told him he was doing a story about the state’s Jewish community being troubled by it.”
“The reporter’s request made him realize that what was a collector’s item to him could cause great distress to others,” Monk continued.
A “teachable moment” for all concerned, right?
Monk’s story doesn’t say how much money Floyd made by getting rid of the artwork, although he is quoted as promising to donate any proceeds received from its sale to “Jewish causes.”
To be clear: This website doesn’t really care about paintings owned by private collectors. How such items are purchased and displayed is none of our business. Nor do we think someone owning a Hitler watercolor is evidence of anti-semitism. Hitler’s art is a part of history, and to own it – and other Nazi-era memorabilia – isn’t to endorse the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the regime.
Furthermore, we’ve heard from sources close to Floyd who have confirmed that he is genuinely upset about the situation.
“Dr. Eddie doesn’t intentionally offend anyone,” one of Floyd’s lifelong friends told us.
We have no trouble believing that …
Our beef? That government subsidizes museums in the first place – especially local museums with $4 million worth of state funding (which, of course, was secured by Leatherman).
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Museums are not a core function of government, irrespective of the level of controversy associated with the historical exhibits they display.
(Banner via Hugo Jager)