Current Research

The War Art of Otto Dix

This book project explores the role of Otto Dix’s confrontational pictures in shaping the memory of World War I in Germany during the years 1914-34, analysing how their meaning as war memory was defined by the visual culture of war that surrounded them, Dix’s artistic peers and critics. In a country that struggled to produce a shared, universal memory of the war and where the relationship between art and politics was unusually close, the book also considers how the pictures’ reception was affected by Germany’s fractured war commemoration, significantly complicating the terms by which they were understood. Each chapter provides a case study of the first public showing of one or more of Dix’s war pictures at key exhibitions and shows 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.