Otto Dix. Apotheosis (Apotheose) from the portfolio Nine Woodcuts (Neun Holzschnitte). 1919 (published 1922)
Otto Dix

Apotheosis (Apotheose) from the portfolio Nine Woodcuts (Neun Holzschnitte)

1919 (published 1922)
Not on view
Medium
Woodcut
Dimensions
composition (irreg.): 11 x 7 3/4" (28 x 19.7 cm); sheet: 17 1/16 x 13 15/16" (43.4 x 35.4 cm)
Publisher
Heinar Schilling, Dresdner Verlag, Dresden
Printer
unknown
Edition
30; plus a few proofs printed by the artist; and an unknown number in the periodical Menschen, vol. VIII, no. 62/65 (Nov 1919)
Credit
Given anonymously
Object number
516.1951
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Portfolio

Nine Woodcuts (Neun Holzschnitte)

Department
Drawings and Prints

Otto Dix aggressively implies in this portfolio that sex is the force driving all men. In Apotheose (Apotheosis), fragmented body parts and leering faces orbit a grotesquely distorted prostitute, whose outsize genitalia mark the center of the composition. Dix believed in the utter incompatibility of men and women. He borrowed imagery conveying the epic conflict of the sexes from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, such as the juxtaposed moon and sun in Mann und Weib (Nächtliche Szene) (Man and woman [nocturnal scene]) and the cats slinking over moonlit roofs in Katzen (Cats). On the streets, meanwhile, traditional order—both moral and pictorial—breaks down. Die Prominenten (Konstellation) (The celebrities [constellation]) reveals Dix's skepticism toward exuberant promises of a better future: four ideologues share a single body, espousing a manifesto of love, fatherland, order, and Dada.

Although still indebted stylistically to the Expressionist techniques of distortion, the Futurist fracturing of picture planes, and the Cubist use of collage, Dix has already discovered the power of scathing social critique in these early woodcuts, which count as some of his first prints. He made woodcuts only briefly, between 1919 and 1920, and then gave up the medium entirely.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
William S. Lieberman, New York; given anonymously to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1951

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

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Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource