This month Bexhill showcases the work of an influential German First World War artist who was branded a “degenerate” by the Nazis.
Commemorating the centenary of World War One, the De La Warr Pavilion presents a selection of 19 prints by Otto Dix from his monumental 50 piece series, Der Kreig (The War).
A major and rare loan from the Department of Prints & Drawings at the British Museum, the prints are widely acknowledged to be ground-breaking with their stark depictions of Dix’s traumatic experiences on the landscapes of war, and the innovative multiple print-making techniques he employed.
Gritty and expressive, the work presents the First World War in shocking close-up – from a soldier speedily consuming a meal in the company of a human skeleton trapped in the frozen mud beside him in Mahlzeit in der Sappe.
He also realises the more familiar imaginings of war; the transportation of wounded soldiers, the return of battle weary troops from the Front Line, and the suffering of the civilians of Lens as the Allied campaign bombed occupying German forces. Der Kreig and Dix’s other works are often harshly critical of the decadent German society between the Wars.
When the Nazis came to power, Dix was denounced as a ‘degenerate’ artist and sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy.
Otto DIx Der Kreig (The War) runs from 17 May – 27 July 2014 in Gallery 2 at the De La Warr Pavilion