Black chalk drawing on firm brown paper 40.3 x 39.5 cm Framed under glass. Signed and dated 'Dix 17' in pencil lower left. - Two insignificant narrow marginal tears to upper margin. Few small holes from a former fastening to right margin.
Like many of his fellow artists, Otto Dix experienced the war year of 1917 as a soldier in Flanders. There he created works on paper which depict the atrocious horrors in an expressive visual idiom informed by Italian Futurism.
The Futurists' enthusiasm for speed, motors, danger, struggle and war expresses itself in a style specific to their painting and sculpture - in the exaggeration of semi-abstract forms, whose superimposition visualises an accelerated space-time factor and sometimes force and violence. Otto Dix also assimilated similar Cubo-Futurist or Futurist principles of composition in this period.
“Howling gusts of wind shred the sky and landscape. Cold bomber planes smooth as steel rumble in sharply triangular formations and sing the Futurist Song of Songs of force and velocità. Force converted into velocity […].The world has become war and this war manifests itself as a 'monster of force' - force that discharges itself everywhere in destructive energy or is converted into whizzing speed.” (Otto Conzelmann (ed.), Otto Dix, Handzeichnungen, Hanover 1968, p. 18).
When the present drawing “Badende Soldaten” is compared with two contemporary works - “Badende Kompanie - Ostende”, in the collection of the Staatliche Museen Kassel, and “Knokke, Badende Soldaten”, where advancing troops storm the lake, so to speak (Lorenz WK 6.2.9 and WK 6.2.10) - our scene proves harmonious in terms of its composition. Waves and bathers meet in arcs, the degree of abstraction is high and it is seems to have been removed from the space-time continuum.
Lorenz I, WK 6.2.11
Galerie "Obere Zäune", Zurich; Galerie Valentien, Stuttgart; Private collection since, Berlin
Exhib. cat. Otto Dix, Galerie Daniel Keel, Zurich 1965, with illus. in the advertising section on the back side of the catalogue
Stuttgart 1983 (Galerie Valentien), Otto Dix. Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, cat. no. 12 with full-page illus.; Saulgau 1979 (Städtische Galerie "Die Fähre"), Otto Dix 1891-1969, cat. no. 65