Forthcoming book chapter (November 2020): ‘Between Art and History: Otto Dix’s Metropolis’ in Artistic Expressions and the Great War, ed. by Sally Charnow (New York: Peter Lang, 2020).
Otto Dix’s thirty-eight months as a frontline soldier were the key to much of his post-war output. Alongside numerous portraits and other commissioned work, his portrayal of post-war German society and the war experience made him one of Germany’s most internationally known and controversial living artists. His sparse commentary on his work during the 1920s and 1930s have only enhanced the pictures’ enigma, then and since. Yet, much may be gleaned as to how the works engaged with the memory of the war in Germany by address to cultural and political conditions, and by examining the reception of the work by cultural critics. This chapter examines how Dix’s large triptych Metropolis (Figure 1) contributed to the shaping of war memory in Germany in 1928, ten years after the armistice, treating how the artist’s invocation of German artistic traditions and revocation of prevailing models of militant identity worked to reconfigure German memorialisation of World War I. A link to the book’s webpage will be added once available.