Otto Dix

Date/place of birth

December 2, 1891 Untermhaus near Gera

Day/place of death

July 25, 1969, Singen/Hohentwiel

Otto Dix - Weite Ebene (Weiler hinter Bohlingen)
Otto Dix - Weite Ebene (Weiler hinter Bohlingen)

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Otto Dix biography

As the artistic face of the Weimar Republic, Otto Dix achieved world fame: his positions were as varied as his style; the time-honoured veteran of the First World War created some of the most shocking anti-war pictures and counts as one of the most important representatives of Verism.

Otto Dix - Lessons with Ernst Schunke and Richard Guhr

Otto Dix was born on 2 December 1891 in Untermhaus, today part of Gera. Whilst his father worked in the iron foundry as a molder, his mother contributed to the household as a seamstress as well as shaping her son with her artistic and musical interests. Otto Dix described himself as a working-class child throughout his life and grew up in simple, but by no means poor circumstances and also received a certain level of education. His artistic talent was already recognised during his school time by his drawing teacher Ernst Schunke, who encouraged his pupil. From 1905 to 1909 he was apprenticed to the decorative painter Carl Senff and thanks to a scholarship from Lord von Reuß was able to study from 1910 to 1914 at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden where he was taught by Richard Guhr and Johann Nikolaus Türk. Dix studied the history of painting intensely and completed his first expressionist and late impressionist works. Just before the outbreak of the First World War he turned to modernism and attempted futuristic and cubist styles.

Master pupil of Otto Gussmann, his principle work “Schützengraben”

Otto Dix volunteered for military service in the First World War in the field artillery and processed his experiences with numerous futuristic drawings. Following the war, he returned to the Dresdner Kunstakademie and became master pupil of Otto Gussmann. He was one of the founding members of the Dresdner Secession in 1919 and participated in their German-wide exhibitions. In the same period, Otto Dix had contact with the Dadaists and also took part in the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe with his own works in 1920. Otto Dix created his most famous painting in the early 1920s, “Schützengraben”, which was criticised for its savage depiction. In Düsseldorf he acquired his own studio at the academy from Heinrich Nauen and took lessons in graphic techniques from the workshop manager Wilhelm Herberholz. He was represented at the travelling exhibition Neue Sachlichkeit in Berlin. In the last years of the Weimar Republic, Otto Dix was a recognised and celebrated great, held a professorship at the Dresdner Akademie, belonged to the German Artists’ Association, and impressed with his triptychs “Großstadt” and “Krieg”.

Occupational ban of National Socialism, successful later years

Under the NS regime, Otto Dix was one of the first artists to be ostracised as “degenerate”, lost his rank of professor and had to endure a partial enforced auction of his property. Many of his works were presented in the propaganda exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art), he was considered a saboteur of the National Socialist cause and was no longer allowed to exhibit. Dix was temporarily arrested by the Gestapo as a result of the attempted Hitler assassination in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. After his release, the artist withdrew into inner exile, but continued to accept private commissions. A number of patrons supported him financially during this difficult time, including the industrialist Walther Groz. In the course of the Volkssturm Dix was taken prisoner of war but was allowed to continue working as an artist. In his successful post-war years Dix turned again to modern expressive painting.

Otto Dix died on 25 July 1969 in Singen.

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Otto Dix Prices

Otto DixWeite Ebene (Weiler hinter Bohlingen)€166.600
Otto DixWeite Ebene (Weiler bei Bohlingen)€136.400
Otto DixBodenseelandschaft bei Stein am Rhein mit Burg Hohenklingen (Lake Constance Landscape near Stein on the Rhine with Hohenklingen Castle)€132.000
Otto DixHahn und Katze II (Cock and Cat II)€108.900
Otto DixMädchen in Trümmern - mit Sonnenrosen (Girl in Ruins - with Sunflowers)€102.850
Otto DixJazzkapelle€102.000

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