The Artist’s Family, Otto Dix
Otto Dix
The Artist’s Family
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Otto Dix

The Artist’s Family, 1927

80.0 x 50.0 cm
Physical Description
Oil on panel
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1959, Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
On display


About the Work

Little Ursus reacts sceptically to his father’s rather hideous grin. Dix depicted his young family in a classical triangular composition enhanced by the addition of four-year-old Nelly. Ursus commands all the attention, and Martha Dix also gazes down at the infant with an affectionate, Madonna-like expression. Using an Old Masterly glazing technique, the artist executed the scene on wood in glowing tones of red and orange. It is reminiscent of early portrayals of the Holy Family – with an ironic twist.

About the Donation

During the Third Reich, the museum's collection of modernist art was almost entirely lost by the confiscation in 1937 of what the National Socialists had labelled "degenerate art". The first decades after the Second World War were therefore devoted to rebuilding the department. Given the conditions in the post-war years, the city of Frankfurt was in no position to make funds for the purchase of art available in any significant way, and so the revived Museums-Verein focused intensively on this area of collection. In 1959, for example, the association planned to acquire two works for the collection: August Macke's 'Little Walter's Toys' and Otto Dix's 'The Artist's Family'. The asking price for each of the paintings was about 12,000 marks, but the city only had funds to purchase the painting by Macke. The Museums-Verein took over the costs of purchasing Dix's family portrait, so that today the two pictures hang side by side in the gallery.

Audio & Video

  • 01:37
    Basic information
  • 01:31
    Focus on material
  • Kunst|Stück – Otto Dix: Die Familie des Künstlers
    Sammlungshighlights des Städel Museums in unterhaltsamen und informativen Filmen – das sind die Kunst|Stücke. Entdecken Sie spannende Details zu Kunstwerken aus ungewöhnlichen Blickwinkeln in unter zwei Minuten. Otto Dix: Die Familie des Künstlers (1927), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.

Work Data

Basic Information

The Artist’s Family
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on panel
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert oben links: 19 OD 27

Property and Acquisition

Picture Copyright
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Acquired in 1959, Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Work Content


  • 42B74(2) family group, especially parents with their child(2) (2)
  • 48C513(+2) portrait, self-portrait of painter (+ artist in non-work situation)
  • 61B2(DIX, Otto)13(+512) historical person (DIX, Otto) - historical person (DIX, Otto) portrayed in a group, in a group-portrait (+ three-quarter view portrait)
  • 61BB2(DIX, Martha)13(+54) historical person (DIX, Martha) - BB - woman - historical person (DIX, Martha) portrayed in a group, in a group-portrait (+ three-quarter length portrait)
  • 61BB2(DIX, Nelly)13(+54) historical person (DIX, Nelly) - BB - woman - historical person (DIX, Nelly) portrayed in a group, in a group-portrait (+ three-quarter length portrait)
  • 61B2(DIX, Ursus)13(+55) historical person (DIX, Ursus) - historical person (DIX, Ursus) portrayed in a group, in a group-portrait (+ full length portrait)
  • 42A3 mother and baby or young child
  • 31AA235 sitting figure - AA - female human figure

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