German painter Otto Dix portrayed his subjects with a hard-edged, detached realism, accentuating unattractive features and signs of age. Since this portarit, The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden (1922) was a commission, his treatment of his subject was rather kind. Dix highlights Roesberg’s business prowess — which was short-lived — in several ways. The room is cluttered with materials central to a productive professional practice, such as a telephone, calendar, and tools for correspondence,while the palette of greens and blues alludes to rh coorof money. Moreover, Roesberg’s body is almost completely obscured by his business suit — a mark of his professional identity.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Dr. Mayer-Hermann was a renowned throat specialist whose waiting room was filled with the most prominent singers and actresses of his day. Artist Otto Dix was among his patients. While Dix is best known for his unflinching depictions of prostitutes, disabled war veterans, and other traumatized subjects, here he depicts an established professional with wit and satire. In this portrait painted in 1926, the abundance of circular shapes that fill the canvas parodies the doctor’s round body and face — from the curves of his chubby hands and the round bags under his eyes to the reflector on his headband and the mirror above his head.
Dr. Mayer-Hermann by Otto Dix is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art on NYC, and is currently on view on the 5th Floor, in the Painting and Sculpture I Lobby.