Otto Dix, This is Jankel Adler, 1926
A couple of days ago I stumbled upon this rarely seen 1926 portrait of Jankel Adler. Compared with Dix' often brutal characterizations, this respectful portrait appears thoroughly restrained, even the title is unusual: This is Jankel Adler. Also remarkable is the sgraffito-like background with the ornate pattern of the wallpaper. Both of these reflect Adler’s own style of painting.
August Sander, The Painter Jankel Adler, 1929
Moreover, the portrait echoes Picasso’s classical figurative style of the early twenties. In this way Dix deliberately invoked one of the artists who had especially inspired Adler. Otto Dix would later write of his portraits: The ‘exterior’ is the expression of the ‘interior’, that is to say that exterior and interior are one and the same. Three years later, in 1929, August Sander photographed Jankel Adler in a similar, pensative and sceptical mood.