Otto Dix

Otto Dix
Photo by: Bundesarchiv Creative Commons
Born Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix
Dec. 2, 1891
Untermhaus, German Empire
(present-day Gera, Germany)
Died July 25, 1969 (at age 77)
Singen, West Germany
(present-day Germany)
Nationality German
Movement New Objectivity
Field Painting

Otto Dix was born in Gera, Germany, on December 2, 1891. He lived until he was 77 years old and died in 1969. His mother wrote poetry in her younger years, and this piqued Dix’s interest in the arts.

Otto Dix’s Early Life

Fritz Amann, who was Dix’s cousin, owned a studio where he painted, and Dix spent many hours there. The time that Dix spent in the studio helped him decide to be an artist. Not only did Amann encourage Dix to become an artist, but so did a primary schoolteacher. Before long, he became an apprentice of Carl Senff. Dix worked under Senff from 1906-1910. After serving his apprenticeship, he went to the Academy of Applied Arts in Dresden where one of his teachers was Richard Guhr, a very famous sculptor and painter.

Otto Dix’s Artworks

Otto created several pieces of artwork throughout his lifetime and each piece had a history and a meaning behind it. For example, his piece of art entitled War Cripples was actually confiscated by the Nazis because they considered it to be degenerate. They destroyed the piece of art.

One of Otto’s most well-known paintings was The Trench, which showed the bodies of soldiers after being involved in battle. The bodies were depicted as decomposed and dismembered. This particular painting caused some controversy and, as a result, it was actually hidden behind a curtain at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum.

Perhaps the most renowned painting of Otto’s repertoire is the Metropolis of 1928. This painting was a portrayal of Germany’s Weimar Republic’s actions. The left-panel of this painting shows a crippled war soldier entering a Berlin pool area and being welcomed by prostitutes. The same panel also depicts a man who is laying dead on the street. The center area shows the city of the Golden Twenties, which was when the city was influenced by American jazz and dance. On the right side of the painting, the panel shows prostitutes who are dressed classy. They are in search of clients in the city’s affluent parts. This particular painting reflects what it was like coexisting in German society at the time.

Other notable artwork that he has created includes Butcher’s Shop, which he created back in 1920 and War Wounded, which he completed in 1922. These two paintings reflected his point of views about his country and life in general. The painting entitled The Salon is considered to be one of the most famous paintings that showed his point of view about how prostitutes were represented.

Dix’s Techniques and Styles

Dix’s style of artwork was unique because most of it was considered controversial at the he created it. Many of his pieces showed the dark side of the times in which he was living as well as the reality of war during his time.

Otto Dix enjoyed using wooden panels in his artwork because he liked the support that the wood offered. He used layers of glazes on many of his pieces. He also incorporated biblical themes which added to his uniqueness as an artist during the time he was alive.

Dix’s popularity brought him a steady stream of people who wanted to buy his paintings. His style and controversial depictions made people want to have one of his pieces in their home.

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