Cartoon by Manfred Deix
Manfred Deix cartoon from the 1980s

Manfred Deix was an Austrian cartoonist, graphic artist, musician, novelist and illustrator. He is best known for his gorgeously looking aquarel cartoons, though his topics were often offensive and controversial. He shamelessly ridiculed politicians, religion, everyday civilians and the porn industry. In 1994 one of his cartoons was sentenced for blasphemy, though overturned in appeal. Deix has an instantly recognizable style. His characters all have exaggarated facial features and very chubby bodies. In Austria his name has even become an eponym for people who look like those in his cartoons. Despite being a polarizing artist, Deix' work easily gathered a cult following. He won many awards and is still remembered as one of Austria's most outstanding satirists.

Manfred Deix was born in 1949 in the lower Austrian town of St. Pölten in 1949, as the second child of Johanna and Franz Deix. It was initially his destiny to become the host of the Deix family's inn in Böhemkirchen, Zur blauen Weintraube, but Manfred eventually chose an artistic profession. In 1965, he enrolled at the Graphic Education and Research Institute in Vienna, together with his friends Bernhard Paul, Josef Bramer and Gottfried Helnwein. He was kicked out after two and a half years. He continued his studies at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, which he also left after 14 semesters. Deix' main graphic influence was Robert Crumb

comic art by Manfred Deix

Deix had shown an early interest to cartooning. At age 9, he had already painted an erotic flipbook with 100 drawings of a woman undressing. He also sold nude drawings to his schoolmates. Ironically, it was his Religion teacher who gave him the opportunity to publish his first cartoons in the weekly Niederösterreichischen Kirchenzeitung.

Cartoon by Manfred Deix

By 1972, he was publishing his first professional work in magazines like Profil, Trend and Economy. In 1973 Deix adapted Wolfgang Kudrnofsky's novel 'Klappe, Mr. President' into a comic strip. He furthermore made cover drawings for Stern, Der Spiegel, Pardon, Titanic and Playboy. His advertising posters for Casablanca cigarettes were once very well known. From 1992 until March 2015 Deix had a weekly cartoon in the news magazine News. In 1980, his first book 'Cartoons von Manfred Deix' was published. Several collections followed, such as 'Cartoons de Luxe' (1983), 'Satiren aus Wien' (1985), 'Mein Tagebuch' (1986), 'Der dicke Deix' (2004) and 'Der heilige Deix' (2013). 

Although his work was made in friendly-looking watercolours, Deix's cartoons often broke taboos. They provided ironic and sarcastic social criticism. Institutional and personal misconducts were his favorite themes, and his main targets were politicians (especially right-wing populist Jörg Haider), the common people, porn consumers and religious people caught in sex scandals. Several of his cartoons were accompanied by written texts in a witty or childlike tone, often in the form of poems. In Austria his name was famous enough to become an eponym. A person with typical behavior and an appearance resembling his cartoon characters, is called a "Deixfigur". The word even made it into the Austrian Dictionary. In 1994 Deix made a cartoon ridiculing Jesus which led to a sentence for blasphemy, though he won his case in appeal. On 11 December 2009 Catholic clerics in Vienna sued him again for two cartoons on the website  which satirized the prohibition against crucifixes in schools and depicted God. Famous Austrian celebrities like chancellor Bruno Kreisky, comedian Helmut Qualtinger (Remigio the bearded monk in 'The Name of the Rose', 1986) and writers Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek felt personally offended by his work. 

Cartoon by Manfred Deix
Grazer Bürgerwehr, 2002

Manfred Deix was also active as a musician. He made a CD with cover versions of Beach Boys songs in Viennese dialect in 1995. A documentary called 'Küß die Hand, Österreich – Manfred Deix und seine Bilder' was made by Peter Hajek for ORF and ZDF in 1987. Prominent fans of his work were U2 singer Bono and director Billy Wilder. The Karikaturmuseums Krems celebrated his 60th birthday with a large exhibition, and the publication of the book 'Der goldene Deix', in 2009. Manfred Deix has won several cultural prizes throughout his career.

He lived near Vienna with his wife, whom he had married in Las Vegas, and about 80 pets. Deix led an excessive personal life, which consisted of "working, drawing, smoking and boozing". By 1987 he had to be hospitalized because of a pulmonary emobilism. In 1994 he collapsed once again. Twenty years later he suffered from a pulmonary infarction, which motivated him to give up smoking in favor of the e-cigarette. On 25 June 2016 he passed away after a long illness. His funeral was attended by artist Gottfried Helnwein, circus director Bernhard Paul and comedian Lukas Resetarits.

Manfred Deix' work was admired by Dutch cartoonist Willem

Cartoon by Manfred Deix

Series and books by Manfred Deix in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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