Art on This Day
Born on this day in 1891, Gera, Germany, was the German painter and printmaker, Otto Dix. Distinguished for his ruthless and harshly realistic depictions of Weimar society and the brutality of war, Dix is considered one of the most important artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”).
Between 1910 to 1914, Dix studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. Where he encountered art of the Brücke and began painting in a colorful, emotionally exaggerated and gestural style. Through his intensive study of the Old Dutch, Italian, and German Masters, Dix self-taught how to paint their methods- creating his own independent style. Profoundly influenced by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, he carried into war as an enthusiastic volunteer in 1914.
By 1919, he settled back in Dresden where he made contact with socialist Expressionist groups; was also briefly involved with Dada, exhibiting works at First International Dada Fair in 1920. Created several monumental works chronicling the brutality of war, including a portfolio of fifty shockingly graphic etchings, The War (published 1924). Also focused on postwar decadence, depicting war profiteers, prostitutes, crippled veterans, and sexual violence in an increasingly verist style.
In 1931, Dix was appointed a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. The same very year he showed work in exhibitions all over Germany and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. However, Dix’s renown was shortly lived, he was stripped of honors and teaching position in 1933 by Nazis, who also seized 260 works from public collections, some of which were destroyed. Being most remembered for the portraits he produced during the years of the Weimar Republic, pictures that have contributed to the enduring popular image of the famously decadent time in German History.
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