02.12.2016 – 23.04.2017
For the first time, the Zeppelin Museum will be presenting its impressive Otto Dix collection in an extensive exhibition. With over 400 works it is the biggest collection in the world: 21 paintings, 110 drawings, and 275 graphic works from all periods.
The occasion is the artist’s 125th birthday. From 2 December 2016 to 23 April 2017 visitors will be offered an insight into the multifaceted work of one of the most important artists of the 20th century – and this at Lake Constance, where Otto Dix set up residence in 1933 and lived until his death in 1969.
While most of the Dix exhibitions of the last decades explored the breaks in his artistic development between 1933 and 1945, the show in Friedrichshafen focusses on his thematic continuity. The collection shows that all the key subjects continue to appear throughout his works from all periods. The exhibition covers all the important contents and motifs in Dix’s oeuvre: nude studies, portraits, religious themes, war representations, cityscapes and landscapes. Juxtaposed in this way, the close connection between the subjects becomes evident: birth, death, passion, suffering, Eros, and murder form an intricately interwoven unity. Man is always at the centre, living on the edge.
Otto Dix himself also experienced many extreme situations: the horrors of the First World War, his defamation by the National Socialists as a “degenerate” artist, his retreat to Lake Constance, and consequently, a life in East and West Germany, which also oscillated between two very different worlds from an artistic point of view.
All the artist’s creative periods, from his early to his late works, are represented in the exhibition. The oldest works in the collection date back to 1908, and the most recent work is from 1969, the year the artist died. Many of the works on display have defined our collective visual memory, such as the cycle Der Krieg (The War) (1924). However, the show also includes unknown pieces, such as pre-studies for paintings which are lost today and provide a new perspective on the artist.
Dix painted what he saw. His own criterion was neither the explicitly ugly nor the breathtakingly beautiful, but reality alone. Or as Dix himself put it in 1963: “Well, I’m a reality person. I need to see everything.” His words are the motto of the exhibition. The Zeppelin Museum is showing its visitors everything. They need to see everything!
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