Otto Dix. The Nun. 1914
Otto Dix

The Nun

1914
Not on view
Medium
Oil on cardboard
Dimensions
27 5/8 x 20 5/8" (70.2 x 52.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of Gertrude W. Dennis
Object number
253.1988
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Department
Painting and Sculpture

In a painting he later described as "completely characteristic" of his work before World War I, Otto Dix envisions a nun's internal struggle between her hope for eventual heavenly rewards and her desire for immediate worldly pleasures. The jarring, acidic colors on the nun's face and hands contrast sharply with the anguish and torment conveyed by her downcast eyes and furrowed brow. Dix matches the deep lines and fractured planes of her face to the soaring vaults of the Gothic cathedral in which she appears. Within this holy space, she is torn by competing desires. On the left, a radiating, vulva-shaped form pushes aside the agonized and bloody Jesus. Opposite, a nude cradles her own glowing red stomach, alluding to motherhood, another earthly experience the nun must renounce for her faith.

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.
Location unknown as of 1959
(Irwin Lefcourt) Art Fair Galleries, New York. By November 1963
Gertrude W. and Seth Dennis, Westport, Connecticut. [By 1981] By 1988
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Gertrude W. Dennis, 1988

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

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
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New York, NY 10019

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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Image permissions

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