Otto Dix, Center Panel of Metropolis (Triptych) (1927-28)
One of Otto Dix’s most ambitious works, the triptych Metropolis [Großstadt] combines his major themes of war, moral corruption, and decadence in a form reminiscent of a medieval altarpiece. The work consists of three panels; the center one appears below. This jazz club scene has been read as a portrait of the so-called new woman [neue Frau] of Weimar society. Dix gives this “new woman” both an exaggerated and aggressive feminine sexuality as well as an androgyny represented by her fashionably short haircut. Jazz, at once the epitome of avant-garde urban modernity and an expression of “primitive” sensuality, was viewed with both fascination and fear.