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Special Lecture: James A. van Dyke, University of Missouri
November 7, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
National Humanities Center Allen W. Clowes Fellow
“Vulgar Materiality and Heteroglossic Detail in Otto Dix’s Painting”
Otto Dix was an extraordinarily successful German painter during the Weimar Republic, amusing some viewers with his exquisitely painted, caricaturesque portraits and outraging others with his grotesquely violent, bloody, and sexualized depictions of modern life and contemporary history. However, there is more to Dix’s work than its eye-catching and shocking iconography. Focusing largely on the portrait of a radical colleague, his wife, and their child that Dix painted in 1919, this lecture will draw attention to overlooked things on the surface of Dix’s pictures. It will consider the effect of looking in detail on the interpretation of a particular painting, and on our understanding of the social production of modern German art in the extremely difficult, revolutionary aftermath of the First World War.
Associate Professor of Art History James A. van Dyke is a specialist in twentieth-century German painting and politics. His attention is particularly strongly drawn to the ways in which artworks, artists, and artistic institutions have been and continue to be shaped by catastrophic historical events, structural social contradictions, and extreme ideological responses to them. His publications have focused on German artists such as Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, and Franz Radziwill, as well as a variety of topics related to art and politics in German art and visual culture between 1900 and 1945. He is currently working on a book-length study of the painter Otto Dix. Van Dyke is currently President of the Historians of German, Scandinavian, and Central European Art & Architecture and the Reviews Editor for The Art Bulletin.
Image credit: Otto Dix, The Felixmüller Family, 1919, oil on canvas, 75.9 x 91.4 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum, 882:1983
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