Works on Paper

Leuchtkugel erhellt die Monacu-Ferme (Flare Lights Up Monacu Farm), 1924
Otto Dix (Germany, 1891–1969)
Aquatint, etching
Image: 5 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip C. Goldstick 1984-43-14

This etching is one of the 50 that comprise Otto Dix's most extensive graphic series, The War, produced in 1924, several years after the close of World War I. Dix had served as a machine gunner on the front and had seen and documented in drawings the horrors of war at close range. The War series was more detailed and realistic than his previous depictions of warfare, and more activist in intention. Along with other artists at that time, Dix was vehemently antiwar. In order to show its consequences, he studied Francisco Goya's Los desastres de la Guerra (1863) and actual corpses and mummies to refresh his memories of six years earlier.

Known for his graphic descriptions of human suffering, in this etching Dix gives an intimate view of a post-battle landscape inspired by his own nightmares. The flare that gives the print its title illuminates the horror of a destroyed farm, the setting signified by a wooden plough. It is difficult to distinguish between the farm wreckage, bodies sprawled on the ground, and a blasted tree.

Text by Kavie Barnes, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008