I don't think there has ever been an artist who so superbly captured the grotesqueness of the Third Reich and Nazism as Otto Dix achieved in his work. For that reason alone he has to be considered one of the most important German artists of the 20th-century.
Dix studied realism in Dresden. I would argue that no artist has been more influenced by his surroundings and circumstances than Dix. It was his experiences in the German army in 1914-18 and in the inflation after the War that led him to paint with such bitter realism, a realism that even pervaded his portraits.
He was one of the leaders of the Neue Sachlichkeit group, and his portrait of his parents (1924, Dix aged 33, Hanover) is one of the masterpieces of the movement.
He was persecuted by the Nazis, and 260 of his works were removed from German galleries, but he was nevertheless conscripted in 1945, and was, for a short time, a prisoner of war in France.
During the 1920s and 30s he was much influenced by early German painters - Baldung, Cranach - but after 1946 he painted large religious and allegorical pictures in a rather Expressionist style.
Many of his works are now back in German galleries, especially Stuggart, and others are in Detroit, New York (M of MA) and Paris (Mus. d'Art Mod.).
- The Nazis regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy.
- In 1939 he was arrested on charge of being involved in a plot against Hitler but was later released.
- Otto Dix's paintings The Trench and War Cripples were exhibited in the Nazi exhibition of degenerate art, Entartete Kunst. They were later burned.
- To continue to work as a painter in Nazi Germany, he had to promise to paint only landscapes.
- Died in Singen, Germany, in 1969.
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