Otto DIXVERLAG KARL NIERENDORF, Soldatengrab zwischen den Linien [Soldier's grave between the lines], plate 1 from Der Krieg Enlarge 1 /1

Otto DIX

Germany 1891 – 1969

artist

  • Switzerland

VERLAG KARL NIERENDORF

publisher (organisation)

Soldatengrab zwischen den Linien [Soldier's grave between the lines], plate 1 from Der Krieg Description: plate 1 from the portfolio Der Krieg [War], a portfolio of 50 prints in 5 parts, plus 1 additional print
Place made: Berlin, Germany
Materials & Technique: prints, Intaglio etching and aquatint, printed in black ink. Support: BSB-Maschinen-Butten
Manufacturer's Mark: BSB
Edition: ed 58/70
Publisher: VERLAG KARL NIERENDORF
Place Published: Berlin
Date Published: 1924

Edition Notes: printed by Kupferdruckerei O. Felsing, Charlottenburg, Berlin Otto Dix was born in 1891 in Untermhausen, Thuringia, the son of an ironworker. He initially trained in Gera and at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts as a painter of wall decorations and later taught himself how to paint on canvas. He volunteered as a machine-gunner during World War I and in the autumn of 1915 he was sent to the Western Front. He was at the Somme during the major allied offensive of 1916. During the war, he was wounded a number of times, once almost fatally. War profoundly affected Dix, and as an artist he took every opportunity, both during his active service and afterwards, to document his experiences. These experiences would become the subject matter of many of his later paintings and are central to the Der Krieg [War] 1924 cycle. Otto Dix was born in 1891 in Untermhausen, Thuringia, the son of an ironworker. He initially trained in Gera and at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts as a painter of wall decorations and later taught himself how to paint on canvas. He volunteered as a machine-gunner during World War I and in the autumn of 1915 he was sent to the Western Front. He was at the Somme during the major allied offensive of 1916. During the war, he was wounded a number of times, once almost fatally. War profoundly affected Dix, and as an artist he took every opportunity, both during his active service and afterwards, to document his experiences. These experiences would become the subject matter of many of his later paintings and are central to the Der Krieg [War] 1924 cycle. Otto Dix was born in 1891 in Untermhausen, Thuringia, the son of an ironworker. He initially trained in Gera and at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts as a painter of wall decorations and later taught himself how to paint on canvas. He volunteered as a machine-gunner during World War I and in
Primary Insc: l.l.c- 58/70; l.c- 1; l.r.c - signed in pencil by the artist
Dimensions: plate 19.3 h x 28.9 w cm sheet 35.3 h x 47.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Poynton Bequest 2003
Accession No: NGA 2003.352.1
Subject: Art style: Expressionism
Image rights: © Otto Dix. Licensed by Viscopy

Otto Dix's Der Krieg [War] 1924 is consciously modelled on Goya's [1746-1828] equally famous Los Desastres de la Guerra [The disasters of war] which detailed Goya's own account of the Spanish War of Independence from 1808 to 1814, although his cycle of eighty-two images was not published until 1863.
While Dix's cycle uses an equally astonishing array of etching techniques, its focus in many respects is quite different. War for Goya was an intimate horror, its initial impact localised, its ultimate effect incremental. As the images which open Dix's cycle demonstrate, his war is a modern war - the scale is vast. Not only are men killed in an arbitrary, anonymous and indiscriminate way, the landscape itself is torn apart, desecrated, ravaged in a way that is catastrophic. Often the landscape appears alien; other-worldly, nightmarish.
At the same time, each of these images has the immediacy of authentic experience. Many of them are in fact based on the diary sketches that Dix made while fighting in the trenches.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra