The Neue Galerie
in New York City just opened an Exhibition of one of my all time favorite artists Otto Dix
(1891-1969). He is an amazing painter who uses the faces of passion and emotions. His work hits you in the guts, hard. Dix's paintings are dark and dirty with the stench of real life thrown in. Most of his models seem twisted and a bit deranged, their faces have this sense of sadness and horror. Even the most innocent of his subjects seem to have a real grittiness about them. He seems to show that through ugliness one can find beauty or at least some sense of truth.
If you don't know about Otto Dix he is one of the artists of The German Expressionist Movement. Most of the art created during this time was done between the wars in the 1920's & 1930's. For me, this was one of the most incredible eras of art. These artists seemed so free. They were rebellious. They said what they wanted no matter who saw. Their work was political, erotic and very raw.
This sense of freedom stopped when Nazis found these works of art. They quickly banned these artists from exhibiting and they labeled their work as "Degenerate Art".
It was exactly the opposite of the kind of sterile world Hitler was trying to create through out Germany. Many of the artists had to flee the country and over 1000 works of art were destroyed including some by Otto Dix.
Here are a few that I could find of Otto Dix's work. Warning Some of these are NSFW.
|Portrait of Journalist Sylvia Von Harden 1926|
|Portrait of the Art Historian Dr. Paul Ferdinand Schmidt|
|To Beauty 1922|
|Portrait of Mrs. Martha Dix I, 1928|
|The Salon I, 1921|
|The Portrait of Heinrich Stadelmann 1922|
|The Seven Cardinal Sins, 1933|
|Portrait of the Artist's Parents II, 1924|
If you want to see more I would highly recommend checking out the book, Dix by Eva Karcher
, published by Taschen. To learn even more about the German Expressionism try New Objectivity by Sergiusz Michalski
Both are fabulous books and are very eye opening.
(BTW, the images I used here are of the tamest of Otto's work. I would love to be a fly on the wall of the Neue Galerie and here some of the reactions.)
I must say, looking at this artwork leads me to wonder...What are we doing for political/rebellious art now? Where is hunger?