The Match Seller

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Otto Dix, The Match Seller, 1920
As a World War I veteran discharged of service after a neck wound, Otto Dix had first hand experience and exposure to the ugliness of war. As a post-World War I painter, he became known for his artistic criticisms of Weimar society.

Many of his paintings, such as this one, ridiculed the elite and showed the horrible conditions of soldiers and war veterans.

The Match Seller depicts a war veteran who has lost his arms, legs, and sight due to injuries. Despite the service he gave for his country (which was propagandized while the war was going on as a heroic effort that deserves recognition), the only attention he gets is a Daschund urinating on him. While this is going on, the wealthy citizens of Germany are walking around him in all directions as if he is just another beggar. Dix also emphasizes the stark difference in clothing: the legs of the citizens around the veteran depict fancy clothing, while the veteran sits crippled in tattered cloth. This veteran is not getting any respect or recognition.

Just as this match seller is disgraced and stripped of all respect, Otto Dix received the same sort of treatment (at least in a certain period of his life) after the Nazis took power. Hitler hated modern, and Dix drew special attention as a prominent voice in the anti-war movement, because of which he was stripped of his professorship at a German university. His paintings were quickly displayed in the Degenerate Art Museum in Munich. Many of them were later destroyed. After a few years, Otto Dix was drafted into the German military but soon became captured and put into a French facility for war prisoners. This lasted the duration of the Second World War.

After the war Dix did, fortunately, come back into painting and continued working until his death in 1969.

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