The Lion Cannoneer
Gift from the Estate of Vance E. Kondon and Liesbeth Giesberger, 2011.90
Dix served as a machine gunner in the German army in World War I and knew at first hand war’s ability to dehumanize humanity: to turn men into beasts. Nowhere is that idea clearer than in this painting, which shows one of Dix’s fellow artillerymen, the Cannoneer Löwe. Playing on the man’s name—Löwe means “lion” in German—Dix has transformed his companion, giving him the fierce feline features of his namesake. The man emerges from a hot orange glow, and both the rough brushstrokes and the unpainted margins of the board are surely meant to give the impression that this was the man as glimpsed in the heat of a battle. The painting is part of a significant group of German Expressionist works at the Museum of Art.