Today, Otto Dix is considered one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. His engaged and ambivalent realism remains highly appropriate to today. However, limiting the painter to his Verism of the 1920's would be to deprive him of his vital capacity for transformation and his modernity. Like almost no other, the changes and contradictions of his work reflect the breaks and dislocations of a century of extremes. Throughout his life, Dix remained true to himself and he has remained a source of cultural controversy. “I don't paint what anybody wants. Sorry. I just happen to be such a self-confident proletarian, you know, that I say: 'I'm going to do that! You can say what you want.' I don't know myself what that's good for. But I do it. Because I know that is how it was and not different."
1919-1923 | Expressionism - Dada – Verism
After the First World War, Dix becomes the enfant terrible of the German art scene, first in Dresden, then, after 1922, in Düsseldorf. Initially the painter treats prewar themes with Expressionist pathos; later, he uses Dadaist war cripples and bordello scenes to express his postwar experiences. In drawing, however, he practices a succinct depiction of reality and thus finds a way to "his" style. "The Expressionists do enough art. We want to see naked reality clearly, almost without art." (1965) By 1920/21, Dix had become the protagonist of a new kind of brutal realism with socially critical power and political explosiveness. Antibourgeois attitudes gave way to reality-based images of aggressive sharpness that critics of the time termed "Verism" (P. Westheim) and which were located in the "left wing" of the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) (G. F. Hartlaub). With the "War"cycle of etchings in 1924, Dix reached the height of his early graphic Œuvre.
Text copied from this site, which includes much more history and images than copied here, of course.