Otto Dix was born in Unternhaus, Germany in 1891. He became a student of the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts in 1910 accepting commissions to produce portraits to help fund his education.
Dix volunteered for the German Army at the outbreak of WWI in 1914. He was assigned to a field artillery regiment in Dresden. In 1915, he was sent to the Western Front as a non-commissioned officer with a machine gun unit. He fought on the Eastern Front in 1917, later returning to France to take part in the German Spring Offensive. By the end of the war, Dix was given the Iron Cross (second class) and had reached the rank of vice-sergeant-major.
Dix’s art became increasingly political after the war as he developed left-wing views. He was angry about the way the many wounded and crippled ex-soldiers were treated in Germany. In 1924, Dix produced a book of etchings called, “The War” which was described by one critic as “perhaps the most powerful, as well as the most anti-war statements in modern art.”
When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, it was clear that the Nazi government disliked Dix’s anti-military works. They arranged for him to be dismissed from his post as art tutor at the Dresden Academy. Dix went to live in south-west Germany near Lake Constance. Soon after, several of his works were destroyed by Nazi authorities in Germany. Dix was forced to join the German Army in 1945 and at the end of the war, he was captured and put into a prisoner-of-war camp. Upon his release in 1946, he returned to Dresden, which had been virtually destroyed by heavy bombing. Otto Dix died in 1969.