Title: Hugo Erfurth With His Dog Ajax
Description: This is an oil on canvas portrait of the photographer Hugo Erfurth. There are very few animals in the Dix catalog but the artist painted Erfurth's faithful German Shepard on several occasions.
Erfurth was 15 years his senior and an established photographer when the pair met. Initial intimidation may have affected Dix's treatment of his subject. His early Erfurth portraits lack his characteristic tendency to accentuate the subject's worst traits. By 1926, Dix appears to possess the confidence to give Erfurth the full treatment. The photographer's rotund face, slumped shoulders and failing eyesight are featured prominently in this painting.
Publisher: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Title: Portrait Of The Painter Franz Radziwill
Description: During the 1920s, Dix did several self-portraits in which he is cast in the finest light, a worthy successor to the legacy of the finest German artists. Radziwill, on the other hand, did not receive such treatment. The German artist was one of several colleagues Dix painted during this period. He is a slack-jawed Low German compared to the heroic, almost Christ-like, Dix.
Dix was depicted well groomed and smartly dressed; his mannerisms were more manly then the man himself. In contrast, Radziwill is chubby and his features are rounded. Dix extracted all the testosterone from his body. His clothes are ill-fitting and his posture is poor. In Dix's hands he is a sorry figure.
One year after this painted was completed, Radziwill ended a five year hiatus from self-portraiture. Coincidence? Probably not. It was though he sought to correct the record. See: Self-Portrait With Red Vest.
Publisher: Museum Kunstpalast
Description: The Nazis achieved power in 1933 and immediately placed the country on a war footing. Industry began to produce armaments and anti-war voices were quickly silenced. Dix was stipped of his post at Dresden and several of his painting were placed in Reflections of Decadence, an anti-exhibition of modern art. Dix responded with this painting which depicts the waste of Flanders. The dead float in stagnant water while the living resemble rotted stumps. A beautiful sunset sinks below the Allied lines.
Publisher: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Title: Portrait of a Prisoner
Description: When the NSDAP came to power, Dix was forced into self-imposed exile near the Swiss border. The new regime branded him a degenerate and destroyed as much of his art as they could find. Fortunately for posterity, many of his pieces were in private collections.
In the final stages of the war, Dix was conscripted into the Volkssturm, a military homeguard comprised of young boys and old men. He was soon captured by the French and spent the duration in a POW camp. Dix was granted access to materials and he painted a triptych for the prison chapel. Portrait of a Prisoner was completed inside the camp.
The prisoner is a sympathetic figure. Dix forgot his tendency to accentuate his subject's worst features. After the war, his art would take on a strong relgious tone. Here we find a foreshadowing of that tendency as barb wire creates the prisoner's crown of thorns.
Publisher: Private Collection
Title: Self-portrait as a Prisoner of War
Description: As Nazi Germany collapsed, Otto Dix was drafted into Volkssturm along with other old men and young boys. He was promptly captured and ended the war in a French POW camp.
While in the camp, he was granted access to art materials which he used to paint a triptych for the prison chapel. While he did create work inside the camp, this portrait was done from memory after his release.
Prisoner Dix is an old man with a deeply lined face, troubled by his circumstances. His stoic demeanor is contrasted with that of the Fool behind him.
Publisher: Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart