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Otto Dix (1891-1969)
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Otto Dix (1891-1969)

Posten, feucht-kalt, study for Der Krieg

Otto Dix (1891-1969)
Posten, feucht-kalt, study for Der Krieg
signed 'Dix' (upper left); inscribed 'Feucht-kalt' (upper right)
gouache, brush and pen and India ink and wash on paper
12¾ x 9¾ in. (32.4 x 24.8 cm.)
Executed circa 1923 or 1924
Städtische Kunstsammlungen, Nuremberg.
Dr Klihm, Munich, by whom acquired from the above in October 1963.
Anonymous sale, Galerie Kornfeld, Berne, 18 June 1986, lot 199.
Lafayette Parke Gallery, New York, 1987.
Piccadilly Gallery, London, by June 1988.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
H. Kinkel, Otto Dix, Protokolle der Hölle. Zeichnungen, Frankfurt/Hamburg, 1968, no. 89 (illustrated).
B.S. Barton, (PhD. Diss. 1977) Otto Dix and die Neue Sachlichkeit 1918-1925, Ann Arbor, 1981, VII.C.23.
O. Conzelmann, Der andere Dix, Sein Bild vom Menschen und vom Krieg, Stuttgart, 1983, no. 283 (illustrated p. 183).
L.F. McGreevy, 'Bitter Witness - Otto Dix and the Great War' in German Life and Civilisation, no. 27, New York, 2001, fig. 1 (illustrated p. 276).
U. Lorenz, Otto Diz, Das Werkverzeichnis der Zeichnungen und Pastelle, vol. II, Weimar, 2003, no. EDV 12.0.1 (illustrated p. 886).
Singen, Kulturamt der Stadt, Otto Dix, Handzeichnungen 1912-1961, 1961, no. 34.
Stuttgart, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Otto Dix, Handzeichnungen, Gouachen Radierungen von 1911 bis 1928, 1963, no. 49.
Nuremberg, Fränkische Galerie am Marientor, Otto Dix, Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik aus fünf Jahrzehnten, 1965, no. 67.
Nuremberg, Fränkische Galerie an Marientor, Deutsche Graphik 1900-1965, Aus den Erwerbungen der Städtischen Kunstsammlungen seit 1945, 1965, no. 25.
Nuremberg, Archiv für Bildende Kunst, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Otto Dix 1891-1969, Dokumente zu Leben und Werk des Malers, 1977, no. 14.
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Lot Essay

Executed in 1923-24, Posten, is a preparatory study for Dix's landmark portfolio of fifty etchings dedicated to the First World War, Der Krieg, and published by the Berlin dealer Karl Nierendorf. Although an etching directly based upon this drawing was not made, Dix used the lower part of its composition - open trenches packed with falling bodies - in plate IX of the set, entitled Zerfallender Kampfgraben. It exists, in private hands, another drawing of the same title, closely related in subject and composition (Lorenz EDV 12.0.2).
During the war, the artist had spent four years fighting as a soldier on the Western front, mainly in Champagne and Flanders. Deeply affected by this experience, it took him several years to tackle the subject of the horrors of war in all its brutality. The portfolio was not an instant commercial success, and it was only later that it became recognized as arguably the most powerful imagery based on the 'Great War'. Often compared to Goya's Los Desastresde la Guerra, Dix's etchings and drawings of that period convey a sharpness and cruelty only a direct witness could express.

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