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Otto Dix, la guerre


A great number of avant-gard artists experienced the horror of World War I, from Braque (gazed and trepanned) to Frans Marc (killed) including Fernand Léger and Max Pechstein. Among those who nourrished their work with this experience, Otto Dix plays a special part. His engravings dedicated to the War took a long time to be conceived: it took him a number of years after his traumatic odyssey (Flanders, Artois, Champagne, the Russian front, and a wound in the neck), after learning the technique of etching and the startling discovery of the mummies of the Cappuccini in Palermo before he produced his set of fifty engravings, Der Krieg. The Historial de la Grande Guerre at Péronne has the complete series. It is full of dead bodies, of open wounds, of ruins, of skulls. It was published in 1924 and won him the persistant hate by the Nazi regime. While homo sapiens seems more than ever the apostle of conflict and of death and that certain magazines already refer to a third world war, these engravings are more contemporary than ever before …

Otto Dix, la guerre, Gallimard, 2015, 144 p., €24

Otto Dix, la guerre - Collective

Review published in the newsletter #402 - from 15 October 2015 to 21 October 2015

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