Friday, May 28, 2010

Otto Dix - Brothers-in-Law

Otto Dix, Dr. Hans Koch, 1921

Dix's paintings Salon I (below) and Salon II (lost) were acquired by Dix's good friend, sometime patron and one time sitter, Dr. Hans Koch (1881-1952). When the artist left Düsseldorf to return to Dresden in 1921, one of the items traveling with him was Koch's wife, Martha (1895–1985). Dix and Martha later married, while Dix and Koch, remained good friends. When the latter married his ex-wife's older sister, Maria, the two men indeed became brothers-in-law. How terribly, terribly civil.  

Otto Dix, The Saloon I, 1921

Otto Dix had another Doctor friend, Dr. Wilhelm Mayer-Hermann, whom he portrayed in 1926. Both, the Doctor and his portray wound up across the Atlantic Ocean in the same city. Six years after its completion Dr. Mayer-Hermann was donated to the Museum of Modern Art in 1932, where it has remained on permanent display. The good Dr. and his family emigrated from Berlin to Manhattan in 1934, and Mayer-Hermann established a wildly successful ear, nose and throat practice. It is said anecdotally that, until his death in 1945, he enjoyed visiting "himself" at MoMA and never failed to be privately amused by the unkind remarks his portrait elicited from other viewers.

Otto Dix, Dr. Mayer-Hermann, 1926

by Gottfried Benn (1912)

The lone molar of a whore
who had died unknown
had a gold filling.
As if by silent agreement
the others had all fallen out.
But this one the morgue attendant knocked out
and pawned to go dancing.
For, he said,
only earth should return to earth.

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