Otto Dix (German, December 2, 1891–July 25, 1969) was a world-renowned painter and print maker known for his harsh and brutal depictions of war and the Weimer society. He is considered one of the leading artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity. Dix was born in Untermhaus, Germany, to Franz and Louise Dix. They were working class parents, but Louise had an artistic side that included poetry. She exposed Dix to art through her cousin Fritz, who was a painter and later became Otto’s mentor. Dix had an apprenticeship from 1906 to 1019 with Carl Senff, during which he first began painting. The artist attended Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden.

Dix served in the German army during World War I, from 1915 to 1918, until he was wounded and discharged. The sights and acts of the war had a profound effect on the artist, and influenced his work for the rest of his life. Many of Dix’s artworks depicted his experiences, including the 50 etchings of Der Krieg. After the war, he studied at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, and became a founding member of the Dresden Secession group. His work was markedly Expressionist, influenced by George Grosz (German, 1893–1959) and Dadaism. By the 1920s, Dix''''s art was becoming more morbid and realistic, including his The Trench, which depicted decomposed and dismembered soldiers. This work was so disturbing that the Wallraf-Richartz Museum hid the painting from view, which eventually led to the dismissal of the museum director.

Dix’s paintings described the truth of war, and were a problem for government officials. The Nazis considered Dix a degenerate; they had him fired as an art professor at Dresden Academy. The artist was then arrested in 1939 for plotting against Adolf Hitler, but was released later on. Dix was forced to serve in World War II, was captured by French troops, and was released in 1946. Serving in another war further traumatized Dix and influenced his work.

The artist’s life after the war consisted primarily of painting allegories of religion and post-war suffering, but he was celebrated, not derided, for his Realism style. Dix died in 1969 in Singen, Germany.

Timeline

1891
Born: December 2nd, Untermhaus (near Gera, Thuringia)
1998–1906
Attended school in Untermhaus
1906–1910
Apprenticeship in decorative painting with Carl Senff in Gera
1910–1914
Attended the Royal Dresden School of Arts and Crafts
1916
Awarded the Iron Cross, II Class
1919
Co-founder of the "Dresden Secession- Group 1919"
1922
Studied at the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste (State Academy of Art)
1959
Bundesverdienstkreuz (National Order of Merit)
1964
Honorary member of Accademia delle arti del disegno, Florence
1966
Received the Alfred Lichtwark Prize in Hamburg
1966
Received the Martin Andersen-Nexö Prize in Dresdan
1966
Made honory citizen of Gera
1968
Recipient, Rembrandt Prize of the Goethe Foundation in Salzburg
1969
Died: July 25th, Singen, Hohentwiel

Exhibitions

1997
The New Objectivity, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1993
Art & Politics in Weimar Germany, Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY
1991
Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles, CA
1988
Otto Dix, Museum of Modern Art Kamakura, Japan
1987
Schrecken und Hoffnung-Künstler sehen Frieden und Krieg, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Munich, Germany
1986
German Realist Drawings of the 1920's, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1985
German Art of the 20th Century, Royal Academy, London, England
1985
Otto Dix, 1891-1969, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Germany
1980
Expressionism: A German Intuition, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1977
Otto Dix zwischen den Kriegen, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Kartons, Haus am Waldsee Berlin, Germany
1977
Otto Dix zwischen den Kriegen, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Kartons und Druckgraphik 1912-1939, Haus am Waldsee Berlin, Germany
1974
Realismus und Sachlichkeit, Aspekte deustscher Kunst 1919-1933, National galerie Berlin Berlin, Germany
1961
Otto Dix-Das graphische Gesamtwerk 1913-1960, Galerie Meta Nierendorf, Berlin, Germany
1957
Otto Dix-Gemälde und Graphik von 1912-1957, Deutsche Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
1950
Otto Dix-Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Kunstverein Freiburg
1938
Otto Dix, Kunstsalon Wolfsberg, Zurich, Switzerland
1935
Group show, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1927
Otto Dix, Galerie Wolfsberg, Zurich, Switzerland
1926
Otto Dix, Galerie Thannhauser Munich, Germany
1923
Otto Dix, J.B. Neumann, Berlin, Germany