Signed at lower left, in pencil, "R. Schlichter"; verso: Signed and inscribed at lower center, "Schlichter / Neopolitanische Strasse".
Together with George Grosz and Otto Dix, Schlichter was one of the most politically engaged artists in Germany during the 1920s. A member of Dada Berlin, he produced illustrations and collages with strong moral and political dimensions. His work often had an erotic dimension, with a fetishistic focus on shoes. His early works also include a wide range of drawings and book illustrations inspired by the American Wild West, in which he found many parallels -- in terms of savagery and violence -- with life in the modern city. This sheet emphasizes his keen sense of observation. He made it during a trip to Italy, focusing on a group of pedestrians. Three bystanders -- a man wearing a hat, a soldier, and a dark-haired women -- are looking intently to the right at something happening outside of the picture, while another man on the far left is looking at them. The emphasis on the eyes is characteistic of Schlichter's imagery, in which figures often exchange furtive looks whose significance is left to the viewer's imagination. The city in Schlichter's drawings resembles a theater in which moments of everyday life are dramatized into fragments of scenes.