Otto Dix


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Dix, Otto

 

Born Dec. 2, 1891, in Unterhaus, near Gera, Thuringia; died July 25, 1969, in Singen, Baden (Federal Republic of Germany). German painter and graphic artist.

Otto Dix, the son of a worker, studied at the Dresden (1919-22) and Dusseldorf (1922-25) academies of art. He was a member of a number of progressive societies and a professor at the Dresden Academy of Art (1927-33). During the 1920’s, Dix was involved in the dada, expressionist, and Neue Sachlichkeit movements; at this time he valued anarchistic and nihilistic artistic trends.

Eventually overcoming these tendencies, Dix created a number of sharply truthful, socially critical works. The injustices of bourgeois society aroused in Dix furious anger, profound anxiety, and shock. His works of the 1920’s combine ruthlessly detailed representations, bordering on caricature, with terrifying grotesque fantasy and tragically fractured forms and images which are frequently pathologically ugly. Under fascist rule, Dix was forbidden to teach or to exhibit his works; many were removed from museums, and some were destroyed. During the 1930’s, Dix made extensive use of the symbolism, subject matter, and formal devices of 16th- and 17th-century German and Dutch painting.

After 1945 he returned partially to expressionism, working in a loose style. As a result of Dix’ terrible experiences during both world wars, a spirit of irreconcilable protest permeates his antimilitarist works—The Trench (1920-23), a series of etchings entitled War (1924), the triptych War (1929-32; Picture Gallery, Dresden), and the frescoes War and Peace (1960; City Hall, Singen). With equal passion Dix expressed his hatred of the bourgeoisie, fascism, and the horrors of the capitalistic city; he also revealed his compassion for the impoverished and his solidarity with the working class—Parents of the Artist (1921, Public Art Collections, Basel), Mother and Child (1921; Picture Gallery, Dresden), the triptych The Big City (1927-28; State Gallery, Stuttgart), the antifascist allegories, The Seven Deadly Sins (1933) and The Triumph of Death (1934), and Ecce Homo (1949). Dix was a master portraitist; his portraits are exaggeratedly expressive and at times sharply cutting in their characterization—Marianne Vogelsang (1931; National Gallery, Berlin).

In the German Democratic Republic, Dix was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Arts (1956) and an honorary member of the Union of German Artists (1966).

REFERENCES

Turchin, V. “Otto Diks.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1971, no. 6.
Loffler, F. Otto Dix. Leben und Werk. Dresden [I960].

Z. S. PYSHNOVSKAIA

References in periodicals archive ?
De su rechazo a dictaduras y militarismos, conocidos muy de cerca, dan cuenta personajes monstruosos, dignos del profundo expresionista aleman Otto Dix, como el Tres estrellas o el Paramilitar con tetas.
From June 23 until October 15, art-buffs will have the chance to see the work of a trio of acclaimed artists brought together by Tate Liverpool, including Portraying a Nation by painter Otto Dix and photographer August Sander, as well as Aleksandra Mir's Space Tapestry.
George Grosz's time of greatness was during the Weimar Republic, when he, together with Otto Dix and Kurt Gunther, produced what art historian Franz Roh describes as "a new kind of painting: art engage.
During the Weimar years, Kirchner's painting began to be seen as old hat, owing to the emergence of an obsessively observed realist mode practiced by artists including Otto Dix, Christian Schad, Max Beckmann (to a degree), even George Grosz: Neue Sachlichkeit.
Works by artists ranging from Albrecht Durer to Otto Dix and Tacita Dean are on show, as well as Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's watercolour sketch, Mole head with chin-beard (1918/19).
One may think of Otto Dix, but he wasn't a direct influence; Debora--she signed her work with her given name alone--was a true original.
But also collectors of art from the post-war period--for example Francis Bacon, Anselm Kiefer or Lucian Freud--are warming increasingly to Otto Dix, Christian Schad or Max Beckmann', says Newman.
Meanwhile, the various realist movements that in the '20s and '30s offered a counternarrative to the modernist mainstream still remain a hot potato--thus the piling up in a single gallery of the Mexican muralists Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Neue Sachlichkeit painters Otto Dix and George Grosz, plus Oskar Schlemmer, Max Beckmann, and, most bizarrely, Jacob Lawrence.
I do not believe that they relate in any important way to the caricature-like work of artists such as Otto Dix.
Although Otto Dix and Max Beckmann are sometimes seen as contrasting artists, a small yet powerful one-room exhibition of two print portfolios, Dix's Der Krieg (War) and Beckmann's Die Holle (Hell) at New York's Neue Galerie reveals analogies between the two, for all their differences of style and approach.