Otto Diks

Otto Diks

German painter and graphic artist
Date of Birth: 02.12.1891
Country: Germany

Biography of Otto Dix

Otto Dix was a German painter and graphic artist who was born on December 2, 1891, in Unterhaus, near the city of Gera in Saxony. He studied painting at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts under Richard Müller. During World War I, he served as a volunteer in the active army. After returning from the front, he joined the Dadaists and was influenced by Georg Grosz.

In the 1920s, Dix was associated with Dadaism, Expressionism, and the "New Objectivity" movement. He paid tribute to nihilistic anarchist sentiments while creating a series of socially critical works. The injustice of bourgeois society awakened intense feelings of anger, deep concern, and shock in Dix. In his works from the 1920s, the cruel precision of details and merciless caricature-like characteristics are combined with grotesque, terrifying fantasies and tragic distortions of form and image, often grotesquely deformed.

During the fascist regime, Dix was prohibited from teaching and exhibiting his works; many of his artworks were removed from museums and partially destroyed. In the 1930s, he extensively utilized symbolism, themes, and techniques from German and Dutch painting of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the second half of the 1940s, he partially returned to the traditions of Expressionism, working in a free-style manner. Dix's anti-militaristic works were imbued with an unyielding spirit of protest and incorporated the horrific experiences of both World Wars, in which he participated ("Trench", 1920-23; etching series "War", 1924; triptych "War", 1929-32, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden; fresco "War and Peace", 1960, Town Hall in Singen).

Dix passionately expressed his hatred for the bourgeoisie, fascism, the deformities of the capitalist city, and his sympathy for the underprivileged and solidarity with the working class ("Mother with Child", 1921, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden; triptych "Metropolis", 1927-28, State Gallery, Stuttgart; anti-fascist allegories - "Seven Deadly Sins", 1933, "Triumph of Death", 1934, "Self-Portrait", 1949, and others). Dix was a master of portraiture, characterized by heightened expressiveness and sometimes sharpness (portrait of Marianne Fohgelzang, 1931, National Gallery, Berlin). In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Dix was elected a corresponding member of the German Academy of Arts (1956) and an honorary member of the Artists' Union of Germany (1966).

The works of Otto Dix completed before 1924 share many similarities with his later drawings. An example of Dix's work in the style of realism is the portrait of Dr. Mayer-Hermann (1926, New York, Museum of Modern Art). From 1927 to 1933, Dix taught at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. At the beginning of World War II, he lived with his family near Lake Constance. During this time, his works shifted from a rigid realistic style with a socially critical pathos to vibrant expressionist works with grotesque and distorted forms. In 1945, he was called up to the People's Militia and captured by the French, but he returned in 1946. In the later period of his career, the artist increasingly turned to religious subjects. Dix passed away in Singen on July 25, 1969.