Otto Dix came home to Gera from the trenches of the First World War full of the stench of Flanders and the Somme and all the other places he crouched behind a machine gun.
He hung around Gera for a month, moved on to Dresden and painted out the last of the expressionism in him before embracing the Dadaists. The wanton flavors of the Weimar drove much of his art. But through the 1920s the war was never far behind and when he would distort a man’s fingers or a woman’s frame, when he took the crippled and the deformed and spun wretched new mutilations through them it was as if Otto Dix was back in Flanders.
Not surprisingly, because he considered artists to be degenerates, Hitler sent him packing from his teaching position. It did not matter that Otto Dix had been awarded the Iron Cross and had suffered neck wounds.
He rode out the Nazi years near Lake Constance and as World War Two was winding down, was drafted into a hopeless militia of young boys and old men, was captured and held prisoner by the French and then sent home to Germany in 1946.
Otto Dix, the masterful chronicler of Weimar Berlin, largely overlooked and seemingly irrelevant, worked quietly for the next twenty-three years. He passed away in Singen, near the Swiss border, in 1969.