Collection: Ott Dix

Otto Dix was one of several artists featured in a 1925 Mannheim exhibition called Neue Sachlichkeit or New Objectivity, which took root as an art movement in its own right. New Objectivity became an important avant-garde school characterized by realistic, exacting technique and jarring, acerbic satire. Dix is considered a key figure among New Objectivity artists and whose work, though controversial, was in demand by museums and middle class professionals.

Born near Dresden, Germany in 1891, Dix studied drawing as a boy and later attended the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Dresden. He enthusiastically joined the military to fight in both World War I and II. Regarding war, he felt it was important to experience the atrocities up close. His first hand knowledge surfaced in very realistic ways, as shown in his painting The Trench (1923), which depicts dismembered and decomposed WWI soldiers after battle. The Trench was featured at a state-sponsored Munich exhibit of degenerate art in 1937 but after the rise of the Nazis, the painting was thought to have been destroyed, and Dix was fired as an art professor at the Dresden Academy.

Like other practicing artists in Nazi Germany, Dix was required to join the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts during which time he promised to paint only unoffending landscapes. He occasionally snuck in an allegorical painting critical of Nazi practices. After WWII, Dix painted religious allegories and studies of post-war suffering. He died in 1969.

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