George Grosz

George Grosz
Watercolor on paper.
25 1/2 x 37 1/4 inches (64.7 x 94.8 cm)
Bequest of Fred Ebb.
© George Grosz / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Signed and dated, bottom right corner, "Grosz 25"; verso: inscribed at lower right in graphite pencil: "George Grosz 1925 Berlin. Thaw 8754; at lower left, estate stamp with number in pen and ink, "1/47/10".

Estate of the artist; Eugene V. Thaw; Mr. and Mrs. Leahy; Zabriskie Gallery, New York; Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above in 1985); Scott Elliott, Chicago; from whom acquired by Fred Ebb, New York.

Grosz's fame derives primarily from his satirical depictions of Weimar Germany. Active in communist and revolutionary organizations, he published satirical newspapers and produced caricatures, collages, and photomontages intended to promote the workers' cause by portraying the collapse of capitalism. In the second half of the 1920s, as the German economy improved and Grosz was losing faith in communism, his criticism gave way to a gentler social satire, as can be seen in this drawing of guests at an elegant Berlin nightclub. The cast of characters includes several of his favorite types, such as the rich, mustachioed man smoking a cigar while drinking champagne, and the heavily made-up, aging women. The large size of this sheet indicates his ambition in the medium of watercolor, which became increasingly important in the later part of his career.

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