Otto Dix and the Memorialisation of World War I in German Visual Culture, 1914-1936 (Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2023)
Publication expected by November 2023
Otto Dix’s tenure on the World War I battlefields profoundly influenced his post-war artistic career, one which produced some of the most enduring images of the World War I battlefield. This book explores the role of the artist’s confrontational war pictures in shaping the memory of World War I in Germany during the years 1914-36 and shows how their meaning as war memory was defined by the visual culture of war that surrounded them, his artistic peers and critics. In a country that struggled to produce a shared, universal memory of World War I and where the relationship between art, politics and war memory was unusually close, the book also shows how the reception of Dix’s war pictures was informed by Germany’s fractured war commemoration, significantly complicating the terms by which his art was understood. Each chapter provides careful analysis of one or more works at the time of their first public showing and traces how their reception was subjected to changing socio-political and cultural conditions as well as divergent attitudes to the lost war. Offering substantial new research that also makes numerous primary sources available to an English readership for the first time, the book examines the pictures within the broader visual culture of war in order to assess how they functioned alternatively as cutting-edge modernist art and transgressive war commemoration.
The book will be published as part of the series Visual Cultures and German Contexts (Deborah Ascher Barnstone and Thomas O. Haakenson, Series Editors).
The research for this book was part-funded by a Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant, which is awarded to outstanding early career researchers in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.