Anita Berber

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Anita Berber (1925) by Otto Dix.

If you’re going to live fast and die young you can do worse than be immortalised by a great painter, as Anita Berber was by the German Expressionist Otto Dix. An “exotic dancer” (among other things) in the Berlin cabarets of the 1920s, Ms Berber died at the age of 29 from a bout of TB but it’s likely that drink and drugs (she was fond of both) would have ruined her eventually. She left us with this striking picture, many equally striking photos, and tales of scandalous behaviour involving nude dancing and sexual partners of any gender. Rather than paraphrase further, I can point you to a typically fine piece about the wild woman at Strange Flowers. Ten Dreams has more paintings by the great Otto whose Berber portrait was used on a German postage stamp in 1991. Impossible to imagine the Royal Mail putting a bisexual drug addict on a postage stamp here, no matter how celebrated the artist.

6 thoughts on “Anita Berber”

  1. “Impossible to imagine the Royal Mail putting a bisexual drug addict on a postage stamp here, no matter how celebrated the artist.”

    But many things are possible. One of the pleasures of last summer was going down to the National Museum of Art at the Mall (I live in Wash DC) and seeing the huge image of William Burroughs on a canvas display mural advertising the exhibition of Allen Ginsberg’s photos of the Beats, greeting all the fat Christian tourists at the main entrance to the museum.

    The thought of it keeps me cheerful still.

  2. I have absolutely no qualms with a “bisexual drug addict” on a stamp as they could do so much worse in matters of taste…royalty for example.

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