• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7736

    Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

    24 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 165

    Otto Dix (1891-1969)


    Price Realised  


    Otto Dix (1891-1969)
    signed 'Dix' (upper right); inscribed 'Sie sassen an den Wasserbächen Babylons/und weinten. Und hatten ihre Harfen an den Weiden hängen' (along the lower edge)
    pen and India ink on paper
    12½ x 8¾ in. (31.6 x 22.2 cm.)
    Executed in 1915 (or possibly in 1913)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    In her catalogue raisonné, Lorenz debates the date of the drawing as it comes from a 1915 sketchbook, yet the subject relates to the 1913 motif 'Die Trauernden'.

    The inscription along the lower edge of Klage are the two first lines of the Biblical psalms no. 137:

    'By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
    and there we wept when we remembered Zion.
    On the willows there we hung up our harps (...).'

    The psalm reflects the Jewish people's yearning for Jerusalem, following their exile from the city after its conquest in 586 BC, as well as their hatred for the Holy City's enemies with sometimes violent imagery. These two first lines express the sadness of the Israelites people echoing, in this drawing entitled Klage or 'lamentation', the suffering of the World War I victims.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Galerie Klihm, Munich, 1971 (no. 536).
    Acquired by the present owner in 1976.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this work is signed 'Dix' (upper left) and not as stated in the catalogue.

    Pre-Lot Text



    O. Conzelmann, Der andere Dix. Sein Bild vom Menschen und vom Krieg, Stuttgart, 1983, p. 103 (illustrated no. 148).
    K. van Lil (PhD. diss., Munich, 1997), Otto Dix und der Erste Weltkrieg. Die Natur des Menschen in der Ausnahmesituation, Munich, 1999 (illustrated no. 27).
    U. Lorenz, Otto Dix, Das Werkverzeichnis der Zeichnungen und Pastelle, vol. I, Weimar, 2003, no. FW 5.3.6 (illustrated p. 219).