Dix, Otto

Dix, Otto Biography

German painter and printmaker, whose best-known works depict the horrors of war. The most important influence on Dix's work was his service in World War I; from 1915 to 1918 he was a machine gunner in the German Army. During the years following World War I, Dix became associated with George Grosz, Max Beckmann, and other German artists who shared his critical view of society. In 1919 he cofounded an organization of radical artists called the Dresden Secession. The next year he participated in an exhibition of dada works in Berlin, showing antiwar works that incorporated elements of collage. After 1925 Dix became a leader in a movement called New Objectivity, which was dedicated to realistic oil painting that aimed to expose the corrupt nature of modern life. While teaching at Dusseldorf (c. 1922-25) he did such representative oil paintings and drawings as Pimp and Girls and Two Sacrifices of Capitalism.

In the 1920s and 1930s Dix's work focused on the twin themes of war and the social and economic upheaval that followed the war. In 1934 the German Nazi government featured Dix's work prominently in several exhibitions of what they called "degenerate art." He was forbidden to teach or exhibit, and turned to less confrontational themes of allegory and landscape painting. Dix was jailed in 1939 on a charge of complicity in a plot on Adolf Hitler's life, but in 1945 he was drafted into the home guard army at the age of 53. He was captured and released by the French.

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