Otto Dix

The Great German Expressionist was famous for his unique and grotesque style. Although Hitler's Nazi regime destroyed many of Otto Dix's works, the majority of his paintings can still be seen in museums throughout Germany. Otto Dix was born on December 2, 1891. He grew up in a social democratic family on the outskirts of the city of Gera together with three younger siblings. After an apprenticeship as decorative painter and subsequent studies at the Dresden 'Kunstgewerbeschule', Dix's training was interrupted by World War I. Otto Dix served for four years as a soldier in France, Flanders and Russia. After the war the artist began to study at the Dresden art academy. Dix became a founding member and center of the 'Dresdner Sezession - Gruppe 1919'. In the fall of 1922 the artist moved to Düsseldorf, where he became a master student under Heinrich Nauen and Wilhelm Herberholz at the art academy. The war years were Dix's inspiration to paint scathingly critical pictures such as 'Der Schützengraben' (1923), which provoked an art scandal alongside two other paintings. That same year Dix produced his etching cycle 'Der Krieg', which forms the highlight and end of his early graphic ouevre. After his Expressionist and Dadaist beginnings, Otto Dix leaned toward 'Neue Sachlichkeit' in 1922. In November 1925 he moved to Berlin, where he became the most renowned portrait painter of the Berlin bohemian and the intellectual society of the Weimar Republic. In 1927 the artist was appointed professor at the Dresden academy. In 1933 he was dismissed and banned from exhibiting, being classified as an 'unwanted artist'. Subsequently Dix moved to Randegg near Singen, from where he moved to Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance three years later. In 1945 the artist was drafted into the 'Volkssturm' and captured by the French in Colmar. After the war annual sojourns to Dresden and his membership in the art academies of Berlin Dahlem and East Berlin led him to constantly move between two countries and two sets of state art. Dix's travels to Southern France, Italy and Greece were enriched by a study stay at the Villa Massimo in Rome in 1962, which was followed by an honorary membership of the Florentine 'Accademia delle arti del disegno' two years later. From the 1950s a change in subject and style could be observed in his late works, which lead to a transition from urban culture to bucolism, from polemically realistic to cheerful-expressionistic. Dix was still mainly interested in portraits, but religious subjects and landscapes gained a dominant role. Otto Dix is one of the most important 20th century German artists. With its lively versatility, his work reflects the turning points of the century without abstraction, which Otto Dix opposed and criticised up to a great age.
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