The Dancer Anita Berber
Anita Berber (1899-1928) was immensely famous in 1920s Berlin - for reasons not acknowledged in polite society. She danced (nude) in nightclubs, seduced a wide swath of the the population (both male and female), appeared (also frequently nude) in soft porn silent films, drank (on the average) one bottle of cognac per day, married three times, was addicted to cocaine and opium, was never seen in public without heavy make-up, talked incessantly, lied like a rug and, predictably, died at an early age.
Incredibly, given her notoriety, almost no one in the present day would have heard of Anita Berber were it not for this Otto Dix portrait. The artist was never huge on using the color red, but did so here for his friend to eye-popping effect. It is the red of Venus, the red of rubies and we are nearly physically assaulted with her sexual power - even on canvas, even 80+ years after the fact. ( http://arthistory.about.com/od/from_exhibitions/ig/glitterdoom/gad_07.htm)
For me, Anita fascinates me. I saw her at the MET exhibit of Glitter and Gloom with friends. What aged her so? Was it a lifestyle that was decadent and debauched? Drugs, alcohol, sexcapades? Or did Otto Dix see her as an old worn soul and aged her incredibly. My friend, David, pointed out that maybe the level of decadence shown on whole throughout the exhibit allowed for Mein Kamf.
Otto Dix lost most of his work to Nazi Germany, this painting was miraculously saved.
Anita Berber succumbed to tuberculosis in 1928