Craftsmen renovating the former home of German painter Otto Dix unearthed a surprising find on Wednesday: six original murals created by the artist himself. They found the drawings after removing a massive bookshelf from the cellar, which was being used as a library.
Until the discovery, only a few smaller works by Dix had been found in the house, located in the Southern German city of Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance.
Officials at the Stuttgart Kunstmuseum, which operates and is currently renovating the house, said Dix most likely made the artwork for a Karneval, or Mardi Gras, celebration on Feb. 19, 1966. In total there are six major pieces and painted door frames. The drawings include a monster, whose appendages each play a different instrument in a jazz band; figures from the region's traditional carnival festival; and scenes from the 1958 movie "The Horse's Mouth," in which Alec Guinness plays a painter. Previously, only small painting in the entry to the cellar that had apparently been done at the same time were known.
Because they are well preserved and complete, the new paintings provide fresh perspective on the themes of Dix's art and even on how the cellar was used, said museum Director Ulrike Gross.
Dix was considered one of the most important painters of New Objectivity movement during the Weimar Republic in the interwar years in Germany. His work was critical of contemporary German society of the time. When the Nazis came to power, they fired Dix from his teaching position in Dresden. He moved with his family to the house on Lake Constance in 1936 and lived there until his death in 1969.
The home is being in turned into a museum for Dix's work and will open in June 2013.