The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden

Artist: Otto Dix (German, Untenhaus 1891–1969 Singen)

Date: 1922

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 37 1/8 × 25 1/8 in. (94.3 × 63.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.146

Rights and Reproduction: © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Dix portrayed his subjects with a hard-edged, detached realism, accentuating unattractive features and signs of age. Since this portrait was a commission, his treatment of Max Roesberg was rather kind, and he highlights Roesberg’s business prowess—which was short-lived—in several ways. The room is cluttered with materials central to a productive professional practice, such as a telephone, calendar, and tools for correspondence, while the palette of greens and blues alludes to the color of money. Moreover, Roesberg’s body is almost completely obscured by his business suit—a mark of his professional identity.