* 1891 Gera
† 1969 Singen
The painter and graphic artist Otto Dix is born on December 2, 1891 in Untermhaus near Gera. He does an apprenticeship as a decorator in Gera from 1905 to 1909 and the Dresden school of applied art from 1910 to 1914. Dix often visits the Dresden art collections and studies the works of the master of German and Italian Renaissance. He attends an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh in Dresden in 1912, which impress him deeply, just as the works by German Expressionists and Futurists. He volunteers in World War I in 1914. He continues his studies in Dresden from 1919 to 1922. He is a friend of Conrad Felixmüller and founds, along with others, the Dresden Secession - Group 1919. He gets to know the painter George Grosz in 1920. Otto Dix participates in the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in the same year. He goes to Düsseldorf in 1922 in order to join the academy as master student and joins the circle of artists around the patron and gallery owner Johanna Ey ("Mutter Ey/Mother Ey") and is member of the artist group "Das Junge Rheinland" (The Young Rhineland).
He becomes part of the Berlin Secession in 1924 and makes Berlin his hometown as of 1925, showing works at the exhibition "Neue Sachlichkeit" (New Objectivity) in Mannheim in the same year. The Galerie Nierendorf contracts him in 1926, he is appointed professor at the Dresden Academy a year later.
Starting out with an expressionist style, Dix develops a more and more realistic style, leading him to a caricaturing exaggeration, depicting the ugly and cruel sides of people and everyday situations. He uninhibitedly unmasks famous people in his portraits reducing to their naked human existence. This style seems to be more honest than the "flattering" style of the Expressionists. As of 1924 Dix uses oil that he applies to wood in a manner that is similar to that of the old masters. The picture's caricature-like content is executed in flawless refinement with a great love for the detail.
The "Großstadt-Triptychon" (Metroplois Triptych) made in 1927/28, is regarded as one of his main works - a dazzling genre picture of the 20's with exaggerated depictions of people in screaming colors. The painting's message is even more exaggerated by the sacral form of the triptych.
Dix faces strong hostilities from the National Socialists as of 1933 and has to stop teaching at the Dresden Academy. He is accused of sabotaging military strength, for instance with his triptych "Der Krieg" (The War) as well as of offending decency, which is why he is stigmatized in the exhibition of degenerate art in 1937. The defamation has a decisive impact on Dix's life. He completely withdraws from public life and moves to Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance in 1936, turning to landscape painting and Christian and allegoric motifs. His paintings do not regain the strength they had in the 1920s.
The artist Otto Dix dies on July 25, 1969 in Siegen.