Chamberlain with Hitler
Chamberlain with HitlerArchive

A statue of Hitler on his knees was auctioned on Sunday for $17.2 million, a record for a work by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

The controversial statue is made with human hair, wax and polyester resin, and depicts Hitler as a small child in a gray woolen suit, kneeling in prayer.

Completed in 2001, the simply titled "Him” was part of a themed auction called "Bound to Fail" and had been expected to be sold at approximately $12 million at the Christie's auction in New York's Rockefeller Plaza.

Cattelan emphasized that he is not trying to offend anyone and even considered destroying the piece of work several times. "I wanted to destroy it myself. I changed my mind a thousand times, every day."

"Hitler is pure fear. It's an image of terrible pain. It even hurts to pronounce his name. And yet that name has conquered my memory. It lives in my head, even if it remains taboo,” said the 55-year-old artist.

The previous record for a work by Cattelan was $7.9 million.