Monday, December 2, 2013

Ottt* (for Otto, Ottawa, Ottoman, etc.)

Otto Dix was a German painter and printmaker, born in Untermhaus (now a part of the city of Gera) on December 2, 1891. Dix avidly enlisted in the Army during World War I, but the post-traumatic stress he suffered (at that time known as "shell shock") would strongly inform his work from that point on. A notable example is Der Krieg, or "The Battle," a portfolio of fifty etchings. Much of his output depicts the horrors of war and the sorrows of life, particularly the grotesque excesses of the Weimar Republic, as seen through a grim sort of Dadaist prism. Although he began receiving accolades from his countrymen during the last decade of his life, Otto Dix was deemed a "degenerate" by the Nazi regime. His paintings The Trench (which once led to the forced resignation of a museum director) and War Cripples are no longer extant, having been burned after the Entartete Kunst exhibition in Munich in 1937. More of Dix's banned works were discovered in 2011 in a hidden cache of over 1400 paintings stolen by the Nazis, including some by Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, and Renoir. We found 11 cases of Ottt* (for words like Otto, Ottowa, and Ottoman) in the OhioLINK database, and 262 in WorldCat.

(Otto Dix self-portrait, 1926, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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