1933-1945 | Inner Emigration

During the period of National Socialist dictatorship in Germany, Dix, who was fired from the Dresden Academy of Art as early as the spring of 1933, is defamed as an "degenerate" artist. He does not go abroad, but withdraws into an "internal emigration" to Lake Constance (Hemmenhofen) and into art history. The biographic catastrophes are the source of large symbolic works in oil. In 1933, a tendency to historicism with naturalistic and eclectic accents develops, followed four years later with an iconographic turn to Christian themes. Since 1934, Dix, who longed for the large city as stimulus and subject, had been making landscapes an artistic theme. Following the Romantic tradition, he makes them the showplace of internal experiences. Beginning in 1937, more and more of his work contains Christian-Old Master allegories with more or less clear references to the time and to his life. In the long years of work on picture cycles on archetypes like Saint Christophorus and Antonius and finally with a Christ cycle, Dix seeks to prevent the dilution of his reserve of ideas.

Paintings Drawing