Paul Mathias Padua (1903–1981), volunteer in WWI, was largely a self-taught painter. In 1922 he exhibited for the first time at the Munich Glaspalast. He was awarded the ‘Georg Schicht Preis’ in 1928, the ‘Albrecht Dürer Preis’ in 1930 and the Lenbachpreis in 1937 and 1940. At the end of the 1920s/ beginning of the 1930s, Padua created a series of portraits of ‘Sarntaler Bauern’ (‘Farmers from the Sarntal’). In 1931/32 Padua met Leni Riefenstahl in the Sarntal, when she was creating the movie ‘Das Blaue Licht’ (‘The Blue Light’). He exhibited in Paris in 1932 and in London in 1935 and 1936. In June 1936 Padua participated in the exhibition ‘Heroische Kunst, NS Kulturgemeinde’, Munich in 1938 in the exhibition ‘Deutscher Bauern – Deutsches Land’ in Berlin. In the same year his works were shown at the exhibition ‘Kunstausstellung der NS-Gemeinschaft Kraft Durch Freude’, Kunstahlle, Hamburg. He kept contacts with important industrial families such as the Flicks, Krupps, Hortens, Siemens, Oetkers as well as with political leaders and kings. Paul Padua had 27 paintings in the Great German Art Exhibitions. They were bought by Heinrich Himmler, Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann for prices of up to 30.000 Reichsmark. The painting ‘Leda and the Swan’ by Padua created quite a scandal when it was exhibited in the GDK 1939 because of its salaciousness. However, the work was bought by Hitler himself, -for his spare bedroom in the Berghof.
Besides the famous ‘Leda mit dem Schwan’ Padua painted two of the most well-known propaganda pictures of the National Socialists: ‘Der Führer Spricht’ (‘The Leader Speaks’, GDK 1940) and ‘Der 10. May 1940’ (‘The 10th of May 1940’, GDK 1941). In 1944 Padua displayed ‘Der Urlauber’ (‘On Holiday’), at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’ in Breslau. Padua painted Mussolini three times, i.a. in 1937 and in 1945.
Paul Matias Padua died in 1981 in Rottach-Egern.
Several newspapers in the USA, including The New York Times, wrote about the death of Paul Mathias Padua.