Saturday, April 10, 2010

Society Painter: Otto Dix at the Neue Galerie New York

“When I tell people I would like to paint them, I already have their portrait in mind,” German artist Otto Dix once said. “I don’t paint people who don’t interest me.” Even more interesting than the people Dix painted is how he painted them. Dix’s 1925 Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber (pictured) gives a clue to how he saw the people of the Weimar era in Germany between the wars as the embodiment of the opulence and the decadence of the time. The garish red of the dress hugging the dancer’s form bleeds with the intensity of the period, which throbbed with the aftershocks of the Great War that scarred both Germany and Dix himself, who served on the front lines. An exhibition of Dix’s work currently at the Neue Galerie—the first exhibition ever of his work in North America—presents this complex and challenging artist of the past as someone who perhaps has something to say about our time. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Society Painter."

[Image: Otto Dix (1891-1969), Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber, 1925. Oil and tempera on plywood. 120.4 x 64.9 cm (47 3/8 x 25 1/2 in.). Sammlung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg im Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart. © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG, Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy of the Neue Galerie New York.]

[Many thanks to the Neue Galerie for providing me with the image above and for a review copy of the catalogue to Otto Dix, which runs through August 30.]


Hels said...

What more could an art historian hope for than enjoying New York’s Neue Galerie. One storey about early C20th Vienna: painters (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka etc), architects (Adolf Loos, Otto Wagner) and the decorative artists (Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche etc). All my favourites!

And one storey for German art of the same time (August Macke, Franz Marc, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein); the Bauhaus (Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, Vasily Kandinsky); the expressionists (Otto Dix, George Grosz); as well as applied artists (Peter Behrens, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Wilhelm Wagenfeld etc). All my second favourites.

It will be very interesting to see what visitors make of Dix. I found Nolde quite confrontational but Dix was very different. Thanks for the link

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of the portrait artist Otto Dix before reading your blog. His work really is shocking because he doesn't make the subject sweet or pretty. There a barbarism to the Anita Berber portrait. The chanteuse looks aged like she's at the end of her career. Even her lips look puckered and as blood red as her dress. Her crimson gown hugs her body, but being a dancer there should be no sign of a tummy pooch, just good strong muscle. I'm not sure if this is Otto Dix's bold eye open to a new realistic art . Perhaps he likes to shock his art patrons with the content of his gallery show. I thought portraits were supposed to show us in our best face. I’m not sure this is Anita Berber’s best look. However, he did capture the gritty, over made up look of German cabaret performers from the time.

正碩嫌念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界 said...

阿彌陀佛 無相佈施


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log 二0.3010 三0.47710.48 五0.6990 七0.8451 .85
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ChrisCampuzano said...