About us
Otto Dix Photo

Otto Dix

German Painter and Printmaker

Movement: New Objectivity

Born: December 2, 1891 - Untermhaus, Germany

Died: July 25, 1969 - Singen, Germany

Otto Dix Timeline

Quotes

"Artists shouldn't try to improve or convert. They are far too insignificant for that. They must only bear witness."
Otto Dix
"If one paints someone's portrait, one should not know him if possible. No knowledge. I do not want to know him at all. I want only to see what is there, the outside. The inner follows by itself. It is mirrored in the visible."
Otto Dix
"Trust your eyes."
Otto Dix
"I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths for life for myself; it's for that reason that I went to war, and for that reason I volunteered."
Otto Dix
"I'm not that obsessed with making representations of ugliness. Everything I've seen is beautiful."
Otto Dix
"I will either be famous or infamous."
Otto Dix
"Everybody thinks they know what art should be. But very few of them have the sense that is necessary to experience painting, that is the sense of sight, that sees colors and forms as living reality in the picture."
Otto Dix

"Art is exorcism. I paint dreams and visions too; the dreams and visions of my time. Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time."

Otto Dix Signature

Synopsis

Otto Dix has been perhaps more influential than any other German painter in shaping the popular image of the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. His works are key parts of the Neue Sachlichkeit ("New Objectivity") movement, which also attracted George Grosz and Max Beckmann in the mid 1920s. A veteran haunted by his experiences of WWI, his first great subjects were crippled soldiers, but during the height of his career he also painted nudes, prostitutes, and often savagely satirical portraits of celebrities from Germany's intellectual circles. His work became even darker and more allegorical in the early 1930s, and he became a target of the Nazis. In response, he gradually moved away from social themes, turning to landscape and Christian subjects, and, after serving in the army during WWII, enjoyed some considerable acclaim in his later years.

Key Ideas

Otto Dix is one of modern painting's most savage satirists. After many artists had abandoned portraiture for abstraction in the 1910s, Dix returned to the genre and injected sharp caricatures into his depictions of some of the leading lights of German society. His other narrative subjects are remembered for their indictment of corrupt and immoral life in the modern city.
Otto Dix was initially drawn to Expressionism and Dada, but like many of his generation in Germany in the 1920s, he was inspired by trends in Italy and France to embrace a cold, linear style of drawing and more realistic imagery. Later, his approach became more fantastic and symbolic, and he began to depict nudes as witches or personifications of melancholy.
Dix always balanced his inclination toward realism with an equal tendency toward the fantastic and the allegorical. For example, his images of prostitutes and injured war veterans serve as emblems of a society damaged both physically and morally.
Although Dix's work is often noted for its sharp-eyed depiction of the human figure, his early fixation with crippled veterans and his resort to caricature suggest that he was uncomfortable with celebrating the human body - and the triumphant human spirit - in his paintings.

Biography

Otto Dix Photo

Childhood

Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix was born to Franz and Pauline Dix on December 2, 1891. His father was a mold maker in an iron foundry, and Dix inherited his strength of character and steel-blue eyes. From his mother, a seamstress, he received a love of music and poetry. He first displayed his artistic talent - especially in drawing - during elementary school. At the age of ten, he modeled for painter Fritz Amann and, impressed by his experience in the studio, decided to become a painter himself. His school art teacher, Ernst Schunke, guided his study and helped him get financial assistance. The award required that he learn a craft while he continued to study art with Schunke, so he became an apprentice decorator for four years.

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Otto Dix Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Otto Dix
Interactive chart with Otto Dix's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
Francisco GoyaFrancisco Goya
Hans Baldung-GrienHans Baldung-Grien
Oskar KokoschkaOskar Kokoschka

Personal Contacts

Carl EinsteinCarl Einstein

Movements

RenaissanceRenaissance
DadaDada
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
CubismCubism
RealismRealism

Influences on Artist
Otto Dix
Otto Dix
Years Worked: 1906 - 1969
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Max BeckmannMax Beckmann
Rudolph SchlichterRudolph Schlichter
George GroszGeorge Grosz
BalthusBalthus
Salvador DalíSalvador Dalí

Personal Contacts

Johanna EyJohanna Ey

Movements

New ObjectivityNew Objectivity
ExpressionismExpressionism
Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism
Social RealismSocial Realism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Ashley Remer

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Ashley Remer
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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