Sale: 540 / Evening Sale, June 09. 2023 in Munich Lot 25


Otto Dix
Stillende Mutter, 1932.
Oil on a massive wooden panel
€ 150,000 - 200,000

$ 165,000 - 220,000

Stillende Mutter. 1932.
Oil on a massive wooden panel.
Löffler 1932/12. Monogrammed and dated in the lower margin of the image. 80 x 60 cm (31.4 x 23.6 in).
• In a reduced style characteristic of New Objectivity and with spatial austerity, Dix stages the beginning of life as a transient moment of pure love.
• Dix` "Stillende Mutter" is based on the tradition of Madonna and Child and is a modernist version of the ideal of an innocent and hopeful beginning.
• Fascinating document of Dix' masterly play with art-historical traditions.
• Life and death are key motif groups in Dix' changeful œuvre.
• In 1932 Dix also completed the famous triptych "Der Krieg" (War, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden), structured like a medieval retable, it was made in remembrance of the atrocities of World War I.
• Significant provenance: Formerly part of the collection of modern art of the Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg, in the following part of the Serge Sabarsky Collection , New York

PROVENANCE: Josef von Sternberg Collection (1935 the latest until at least 1949, presumably until at least 1960).
Salander O'Reilly Galleries, New York.
Serge Sabarsky Collection (1912-1996), New York (acquired from the above in 1995).
Serge Sabarsky Estate, New York (seit 1996).
Vally Sabarsky Collection (1902-2002), New York.
Vally Sabarsky Foundation, New York (since 2002).

EXHIBITION: From the Collection of Josef von Sternberg, Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles, June 15 - July 31, 1935, cat. no. 6.
The Collection of Josef von Sternberg, Los Angeles County Museum, 1943, no cat. number, with illu.
Otto Dix, Museum Neue Galerie, New York, March 11 - August 30, 2010.

LITERATURE: Fritz Löffler, Otto Dix. Leben und Werk, Dresden/Vienna, 1967, p. 80, black-and-white illu. 137.
Heinz-Egon Kleine-Natrop/Fritz Löffler, Die Medizin im Werke von Otto Dix, in: Personal- und Vorlesungsverzeichnis der Medizinischen Akademie Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden 1968, p. 25, illu 21.
Jung-Tee Kim, Frauenbilder von Otto Dix: Wirklichkeit und Selbstbekenntnis, Münster/Hamburg 1994, pp. 99-100 and 230, black-and-white illu. 102.

"What I like most is to revisit the primal themes of humanity over and over."

Otto Dix, quoted from: Rainer Beck, Otto Dix. Die kosmischen Bilder, Dresden 2003, p. 122.

Called up: June 9, 2023 - ca. 17.48 h +/- 20 min.

It is the "primal themes of humanity", life and death, that are at the core of Otto Dix' fascinating oeuvre that is characterized by many different stylistic tendencies. After impressionistic beginnings, the 21-year-old Dix attained a clarity of form and expression the latest in 1912 with the "Selbstbildnis mit Nelke“ (Self-Portrait with Carnation, The Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan) that would be formative for his further work: Whether its the visions of war dismantled in a Cubist manner or the figure pictures in a disturbingly exaggerated Critical Realism, in which Dix decries social grievances, poverty and hardships of the common people. Dix always fascinates with the formal clarity of his painting. Dix became first occupied with the motif of mother and baby, which is directly related to the subject of birth and the beginning of life, in the 1921 painting "Frau mit Kind" (Woman with Child, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden). It shows a woman stricken by poverty, with an emaciated face and weary eyes she presents the baby in her arms as the hopeful beginning of a new life. It is the new beginning, the originality and purity of life that Dix liked about this motif. While the famous portrait of his parents or his female nudes show figures marked by work and life in a disillusioned, exaggerated physicality, the newborn child bears hope for a better, fulfilled life. With the births of his own three children, Nelly, Ursus and Jan between 1923 and 1928, these motifs became even more important for Dix' works. Fascinated by the originality of the beginning, Dix made the painting "Neugeborener mit Nabelschnur auf Tuch (Ursus)" (Newborn with umbilical cord on cloth (Ursus), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden) in 1927. A work that was downright disturbing in its directness, as it shows the newly born infant screaming at life with an anguished, distorted, reddened face. In 1929, he created the painting "Frau Martha Dix mit Jan" and in the years that followed several depictions of pregnant women who, tormented by the weight of their powerful bodies, were carrying new life. In 1932 he eventually made our "Stillende Mutter" (Breastfeeding Mother), who turns her gently bowed head towards the child in deep devotion. For her intimacy and ideal transfiguration, she is reminiscent of famous Renaissance portraits of Mary, such as the breastfeeding "Madonna Litta" (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), which had been ascribd to Da Vinci for a long time. With this painting, Dix left us a composition of classical beauty dedicated to the sensuality and purity of the beginning of life. One seems to recognize the physiognomy of young Martha in the facial features of the mother, who is nursing like a Madonna. Dix, whose own children had already outgrown infancy in 1932 and who had already begun a relationship with Käthe König in the late 1920s, which he was to continue for many years parallel to his marriage, once again pays homage to a transfigured ideal of a magic beginning. From then on, both his private and professional life began to fall apart. Just a year after our work was made, he was dismissed from his post at the Dresden Art Academy by the National Socialists. This shows once again that Dix' works revolve around the existential themes of life and death and that he was a master of the artistic adaptation and transformation. With great aplomb, he repeatedly makes reference to art-historical traditions - as is the case in "Stillende Mutter" - for his own artistic purpose. In 1932, Dix also completed his famous triptych "Der Krieg" (The War, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden), which has a formal structure based on medieval altars and is dedicated to the experiences of suffering and death during the First World War. Today it is regarded a key work of German Realism. In 1932, the two extremes of life and death directly collided in Dix' oeuvre. And in 1934, Dix painted his unfortunately destroyed "Selbstbildnis mit Ursus und Jan “ (Self-Portrait with Ursus and Jan). In terms of the landscape view and the motif of the boy being carried on the artist's shoulders, it is clearly based on medieval depictions of St. Christopher, who in his function as patron saint carries the baby Jesus and thus the new life protectively on his shoulders through the perils of life. [JS]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Otto Dix "Stillende Mutter"
This lot can be subjected to differential taxation plus a 7% import tax levy (saving approx. 5 % compared to regular taxation) or regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Calculation of artist‘s resale right compensation:
For works by living artists, or by artists who died less than 70 years ago, a artist‘s resale right compensation is levied in accordance with Section 26 UrhG:
4 % of hammer price from 400.00 euros up to 50,000 euros,
another 3 % of the hammer price from 50,000.01 to 200,000 euros,
another 1 % for the part of the sales proceeds from 200,000.01 to 350,000 euros,
another 0.5 % for the part of the sale proceeds from 350,000.01 to 500,000 euros and
another 0.25 % of the hammer price over 500,000 euros.
The maximum total of the resale right fee is EUR 12,500.

The artist‘s resale right compensation is VAT-exempt.