Thursday, July 29, 2010

This is Jankel Adler

 Otto Dix, This is Jankel Adler, 1926

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon this rarely seen 1926 portrait of Jankel Adler. Compared with Dix' often brutal characterizations, this respectful portrait appears thoroughly restrained, even the title is unusual: This is Jankel Adler. Also remarkable is the sgraffito-like background with the ornate pattern of the wallpaper. Both of these reflect Adler’s own style of painting. 

August Sander, The Painter Jankel Adler, 1929

Moreover, the portrait echoes Picasso’s classical figurative style of the early twenties. In this way Dix deliberately invoked one of the artists who had especially inspired Adler. Otto Dix would later write of his portraits: The ‘exterior’ is the expression of the ‘interior’, that is to say that exterior and interior are one and the same. Three years later, in 1929, August Sander photographed Jankel Adler in a similar, pensative and sceptical mood.

1 comment:

  1. The more I learn about Otto Dix and his paintings the more I appreciate him! This portrait of Jankel Adler is fascinating ... I wonder what opinion he gave to Otto Dix about it!
    On this web site there is a self portrait painted in 1912 ... the carnation he is holding must symbolize something!

    If you can read French there is a very interesting article about his brothel triptych in this month's Beaux Arts magazine. The title is : Que cache le joyeux bordel d'Otto Dix?

    There is a fascinating article about him and the painting calledn