couples dancing at R; women dressed in light colors, men dressed in dark colors; couple embracing on a couch at L; table with bottle and glasses, LLC

Matrosen in Antwerpen (Sailors in Antwerp), plate 32 from Der Krieg (The War), 1924

Otto Dix; Publisher: Karl Nierendorf

Etching and aquatint on wove paper

The John R. Van Derlip Fund and Gift of funds from Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison and the Regis Foundation 2005.16.1.32

Not on View

The crude groping and dancing of these ugly sailors and women in a dark tavern in Antwerp show that barbarian behavior was not reserved for the battlefield. The plates from Der Krieg seem to tie humankind’s basic, reptilian instincts—survival and procreation—to those of animals.

Otto Dix compared printmaking to alchemy, celebrating aquatint for its endless transformative possibilities. To describe the shadows of this sordid brothel, he placed the copper plate in the acid bath multiple times, and used stopping-out varnish to create highlights in the darkness

Image: In Copyright. The John R. Van Derlip Fund and Gift of funds from Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison and the Regis Foundation

Prints of Darkness: The Art of Aquatint

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