George GROSZ (1893 - 1959)

George Grosz was a German artist known especially for his savagely caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s. He was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group during the Weimar Republic before he emigrated to the United States in 1933.

By 1914, Grosz worked in a style influenced by Expressionism and Futurism, as well as by popular illustration, graffiti, and children's drawings. Sharply outlined forms are often treated as if transparent. He had his first solo show in Berlin in 1923. The following year he became chairman of the Red Group, an association of Communist artists.

Bitterly anti-Nazi, Grosz left Germany shortly before Hitler came to power. In June 1932, he accepted an invitation to teach the summer semester at the Art Students League of New York. Grosz became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1938 and taught at the Art Students League intermittently until 1955. He was determined to make a clean break with his past, and changed his style and subject matter. Though he had US citizenship, he resolved to return to Berlin, where he died on July 6, 1959.

In his drawings, usually in pen and ink, which he sometimes developed further with watercolor, Grosz did much to create the image most have of Berlin and the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. Corpulent businessmen and wounded soldiers were his great subjects. He is best known for his scathing, satirical drawings and paintings that championed the underdog.  After his emigration to the USA in 1933, Grosz "sharply rejected [his] previous work, and caricature in general." In place of his earlier corrosive vision of the city, he now painted conventional nudes and many landscape watercolors. Although a softening of his style had been apparent since the late 1920s, Grosz's work turned toward a sentimental romanticism in America.