Otto DIXVERLAG KARL NIERENDORF, Zerfallender Kampfgraben  [Collapsed trenches], plate 9 from Der Krieg Enlarge 1 /1

Otto DIX

Germany 1891 – 1969


  • Switzerland


publisher (organisation)

Zerfallender Kampfgraben [Collapsed trenches], plate 9 from Der Krieg 1924 Description: plate 9 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, aquatint and drypoint, printed in black ink. Support: BSB-Maschinen-Butten
Manufacturer's Mark: BSB
Edition: ed 58/70
Place Published: Berlin
Date Published: 1924

Edition Notes: printed by Kupferdruckerei O. Felsing, Charlottenburg, Berlin
Primary Insc: l.l.c- 58/70; l.c- IX; l.r.c - signed in pencil by the artist
Dimensions: plate 30.0 h x 24.4 w cm sheet 47.5 h x 35.3 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Poynton Bequest 2003
Accession No: NGA 2003.352.9
Subject: Art style: Expressionism
Image rights: © Otto Dix. Licensed by Viscopy

Landscape is an important presence in Dix's war cycle. It appears sometimes as a simple backdrop to human tragedy, but more often as an integral part of the destruction. In Collapsed trenches we are immediately aware that something terrible has happened, a perception that is reinforced subliminally by the piece of cloth that seems to loom, vulture-like, over the disintegrated trench. It is only on closer inspection, however, that images of skeletons, disarticulated limbs and the other debris of war slowly emerge. In this and the other plates that show the battlefields, the landscape has been attacked, wounded, and ravaged as much as the humans who crawl around in it. Dix's work is often less about objectively documenting the events of the war than it is about recapturing the hallucinatory quality of its psychological impact.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra