A leader of the New Objectivity movement in Germany, Dix painted bitter critiques of modern capitalist society. To achieve a more incisive realism in his brutally honest portraits, he mixed egg tempera with other media. The sitter for this portrait, Josef May, was the Jewish manager of the Grünberg grain company in Arnsberg. When the Nazis seized power in 1933, May fled to Holland, where he died of a heart attack in 1938.
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