Otto Dix – Special Exhibition


Creator Otto Dix
Printing year 1938
Sheet size (cm) 128×90
Printing technique Lithograph
Printer Wolfsberg-Druck
Condition A-
Asking price 0 CHF
Categories Visual Arts

With his original poster, Otto Dix (1891 – 1961) dives deep into Christian iconography – by means of Christophorus which he himself drew in 1938 on the stones to promote his second Special Exhibition at the Kunstsalon Wolfsberg in Zurich (one of the very first – if not the first – private sale gallery in Switzerland, by the way, opened 1911; Gottfried Tanner, for instance, worked for Johann Edwin Wolfensberger at Kunstsalon Wolfsberg before he opened his Moderne Galerie).
Christophorus is often depicted as a giant who (so goes the legend) carries a child across a river – before the youngster reveals himself as Christ. Accordingly, today he (Christophorus, not Christ) is considered the patron saint of travelers.

And why did Dix choose this motif? Well, it’s 1938; Dix is a German; the Nazis dismissed the professor from the Dresden Art Academy as early as spring 1933; in 1937 they removed hundreds of his works as “Entartete Kunst” from museums, selling or burning them. Dix left Dresden in 1933 and retreated into inner emigration; three years later he moves to Lake Constance in the far south, opposite Switzerland, and the Christian legend of Christophorus starts to engage him heavily in 1937 – an allegory with both personal and political relevance.

Wolfensberger printed quite a lot of posters without text too, meant to be completed in Austria where the exhibition should have been shown as well – what of course became out of question after Austria’s “Anschluss”. As good as all exemplars of Dix’ “Christophorus” poster showing up are from Austria, often with the blank space cut off. Or in other words: Such a Swiss copy of this important work with the text printed is exceedingly rare.