Germany 1891 – 1969
Verwundetentransport im Houthulster Wald [Transporting the wounded in Houthulster Forest], plate 47 from Der Krieg
1924 Description: plate 47 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
Publisher: VERLAG KARL NIERENDORF
Place Published: Berlin
Date Published: 1924
Because Dix's War prints are so awful, most people see them as expressions of a pacifist sensibility. Yet Dix said of his volunteering for the war, 'I wanted it. I'm therefore not a pacifist at all - or am I?'
Dix was not interested in politics. Although some of his war works, including the War portfolio, were financially supported by pacifist groups, and were attacked by rightwing nationalists for being anti-military, it is almost certain that he himself did not intend his works to be taken as propaganda for any kind of political position at all.
Dix's War was not a statement against war, but a demonstration of how war could serve his art. As a dedicated artist he subordinated everything else to schooling himself to being an artist first and foremost regardless of the interpretations that viewers might derive from or impose on his work.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra