Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Dark World of Otto Dix

Self-portrait with Nude Model


I have spent days looking for wedding dresses now and I am feeling slightly disappointed, most of them look exactly the same and I am in one of the greatest capitals of Fashion! A sense of desperation is hitting me at this stage.... where is the perfect one for me? Will I have time to find it?

Monday afternoon I just dropped it all after trying stupendously expensive dresses at Bergdorf Goodman. (One have to try those as well:) and went to the Neue Gallery to see the Otto Dix exhibit.
That definitely took my mind of the dress for a couple of hours.

We started with his early etchings of war scenes. Deeply painful and revealing, especially Plate 39 out of  50 prints from Der Krieg, made me cry out "Look at this". Maybe because this one was about the people and not warriors? The brutal vulnerable dead nudity is horrifying and I am wondering; is there a baby sticking out of the belly at the bottom? Nightmarish!
Durch Fliegerbomben zerstortes Haus 1924

His brutality in the etchings reflects his anti-war opinions after his traumatic experiences from World War I.

Transport of the wounded in the Hothulster wood, 1924.

Later on his opinions made him quite unpopular under the new Hitler regime, he lost his right to teach Art in Dresden and ended up moving to Lake Constance (A gorgeous place that I visited a few years ago), where he was forced to paint only non-intrusive art. 

Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber 1925

Otto Dix is famous for painting portraits using the aura of their personalities. Anita Berber was seen as virile to the extreme. She was known for walking around naked in a small corset or a sable fur with cocaine, alcohol and female lovers as her regular attire.

Portrait of Dr. Heinrich Stadelmann, 1922

I must say though, that I much rather want my aura to be painted red and vibrant than this poor green psychiatrist.

Semi-nude 1926

Otto Dix focuses strongly on female nudity and often rather large women with a bit of "sagging" breast and worn expressions. A rather sad unglamorous focus on the prostitutes world.

The Artist's Family 1927 

He did paint his family as well. When I saw this painting in real what struck me the most was the confident and direct look his daughter has, like she could see straight through me.

If you have a chance to go to the Neue Gallery before the 30th of August, I would recommend it.
While you are there please save some time for cake at Cafe Sabarsky. They probably have the best cakes in Manhattan:) and it is a wonderful place to relax after all the impressions.


  1. I agree, i prefer the red aura!

  2. I like the one with his family, well, it's the least disturbing. I don't at all mind being disturbed by art, I actually think it's a good thing, but these really are quite unsettling. Very interesting, wish I could see it in person! Good luck with the wedding dress search, you will find the right one!

  3. Captivating work!


    P.S. Loooooove Bergdorf's -- used to work there!

  4. I want to have another wedding so I can get married in this. Just sayin'. HA! I hope you're able to find something you love!

  5. Otto Dix was a great German modernist to start with! Thank you!

    But then The Neue Gallery holds within it enough examples of early 20th century German and Austrian art to keep me teaching for the rest of my career.

    Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, Wiener Werkstätte, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Adolf Loos, Otto Wagner and Dagobert Peche. Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Otto Dix and George Grosz *moan*.

    The Bauhaus is my special favourite, in every medium of art. Give me Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, László Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer *groan*.

    It is not often I want to leave Australia, but I really wish we had the equivalent of the Neue Gallery here.