Otto Dix zeichnet
etching with drypoint, 1920, on thick wove paper, signed, dated, titled and inscribed Probedruck / Ätzradierungin pencil, a very good proof impression before the edition of thirty
Plate 296 x 242 mm.
Sheet 500 x 346 mm.
Söhn 227
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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Lot Essay

A collection’s many journeys
The works in this family collection were carefully brought together by a passionate collector and enthusiast of the arts over a period of almost thirty years, starting in the early 1960s. German art of the 1920s was at the heart of the collector’s interest, and included the social satire of George Grosz (lot 147) and Otto Dix, as well as important works of the Neue Sachlichkeit, Dada and Constructivism. Most of the artists represented in this collection, who had lived through the horrors of World War I and established themselves as artists during the Weimar Republic, found themselves defamed as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi regime. Some were driven into exile, such as George Grosz, and many of those who remained in Germany were banned from working. Otto Freundlich was murdered at Sobibor concentration camp on the day of his arrival in 1943.
Much of the artists’ work had to be hidden from the ‘Entartete Kunst’-purge, and many of the paintings, works on paper and prints in this collection are rare survivors of this feverish and fascinating, yet doomed period of German art.
Amongst the printed works, the etchings and drypoints of Otto Dix stand at the centre of the collection, oscillating – therein representative of the collector’s wider tastes and choices – between unsparing realism, fierce social criticism, collage-like elements inspired by the Dada-movement, and the surreal and the grotesque, all served up with a generous dose of black humour (see lots 147-153). A similar spirit, yet expressed entirely in their personal styles, is found for example in the works of Karl Hubbuch (lot 154) and Heinrich Hörle (lot 155 & 156). It is fitting that the collection includes Conrad Felixmüller’s portrait of Otto Dix (lot 146): it was the younger Felixmüller who in 1920 introduced Dix to the etching medium. In fact, the portrait is a collaborative work of the two artists, as it was Dix who etched his own work depicted in the image onto the plate. It is thus also his first ever etching.
Constructivism is represented by two extremely rare portfolios of the interwar period, Johannes Molzahn’s Zeit-Taster (lot 157) and Oskar Fischer’s 12 Linolschnitte (lot 158), while the equally rare print series Die Zeichen by the older Otto Freundlich (lot 153) , with its more fluid abstraction and figuration, is perhaps best understood in the context of the brief flourishing of Orphism before World War I.

The works in this outstanding collection were bought after much consideration from a few trusted gallerists, occasionally at auction and, whenever possible, from the artists themselves. Some emerging artists of the post-war period, for example Friedensreich Hundertwasser (lots 122 & 123), were supported with occasional purchases of a work, but above all with boundless generosity and hospitality. The collector would drive through the night across Germany and Switzerland to visit artist friends, attend museum openings or see auction previews. Each new purchase was shown to the family and explained and discussed before finding its place on the walls of the family home.
This was not investment, this was a ceaseless passion. The collection was to be enjoyed amongst friends and family at home, but also by the general public – no museum loan request was declined, and as the reputation of the rarities in this private collection grew, more museum loan requests would follow. There was a constant stream of shippers arriving at the door collecting loans for museums across Germany and the United States. The collection’s journey has continued for another thirty years in the hands of the collector’s family after his passing. Some of the masterpieces in the collection found their way to prestigious museum collections, while others are now being sold, so that they can continue on the next phase of their journey.

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