Otto Dix

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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).


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


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe it's because I was seeing the work in Kerlin, but I was reminded of Otto Dix and George Grosz--like Pettibon, anarchic and fearless commentators on a social body whose decay they knew was already far advanced.
One of the German works acquired by the Barber during the 1990s was The Chalk Pit, a page from the sketchbook kept by Otto Dix when he was serving in the trenches during the First World War.
PORTRAYING A NATION: Tate Liverpool presents the faces of Germany between the two World Wars seen through the eyes of painter Otto Dix (1891-1969) and photographer August Sander (1876-1964).
Other artists emerging around this time in Germany included Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Max Beckmann; for all three, their prints are among their finest works.
Many of these works are reminiscent of Otto Dix's sharp portraits of city life from Germany in the 1920s, but with a touch of Raymond Pettibon--esque humor.
During the 90s the Barber acquired strong prints and drawings by artists including Emil Nolde, Lovis Corinth, Max Klinger, Kathe Kollwitz, Otto Dix, Karl Schmidt-Rottluf and Max Beckmann.
This exhibition presents the 'real' faces of Germany during the interwar years as seen through the eyes of painter Otto Dix (1891-1969) and photographer August Sander (1876-1964) - two artists whose works document the radical extremes of the country in this period.
Leading representatives of these movements--such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz and Kurt Schwitters--left Germany in the 1930s; others like Otto Dix and Oskar Schlemmer withdrew further into what became known as 'Inner Emigration'.
Invented for the occasion, this category associated apocalyptic landscapes by Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Franz Radziwill with Klee's Looking over the Plain, 1932, a work that is in fact a perfect stranger to this theme.