George Grosz

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Grosz, George

Grosz, George (grōs), 1893–1959, German-American caricaturist, draughtsman, and painter, b. Berlin. Before and during World War I he contributed drawings on proletarian themes to Illustration and other German periodicals. He was associated with the Dada group at that time. In postwar Germany, Grosz was famous for his vitriolic, satirical drawings attacking the corruption of German bourgeois society. On three occasions he was brought to trial by the state for allegedly defaming public morals and for blasphemy. In his caricatures he evoked a nightmare world, an inferno, made credible with a few jagged pen-and-ink lines. In 1924, Grosz began to paint, and in 1933 he accepted a position as art instructor at the Art Students League, New York City. He became a U.S. citizen in 1938. At first the fiery work of his German period was supplanted by a more traditional rendering of figures and landscapes. However, World War II impelled him to create a symbolic series of ravaged figures. His drawing Street Scene (Philadelphia Mus. of Art) is characteristic. Other works are at the Museum of Modern Art. Two collections of his drawings were published in 1944.


See his autobiography, A Little Yes and a Big No (tr. 1946) and Ecce Homo (new ed. 1966); biographies by H. Hess (1985) and M. K. Flavell (1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grosz, George


(pseudonym of Georg Ehrenfried). Born July 26, 1893. in Berlin; died July 6. 1959, in West Berlin. German painter and graphic artist.

Grosz studied at the Academy of Arts in Dresden (1909–11) and at the school of industrial arts in Berlin (1911–13). From 1918 he was a member of the Communist Party of Germany, and he was the organizer of the so-called Red Group of artists (1924). In 1928, Grosz became a member of the Association of Revolutionary Artists of Germany in Berlin. For a time he was associated with Dadaism and expressionism, and he painted sharply psychological portraits in the spirit of the “new objectivity.” His graphic cycles of works (lithographs, drawings, and watercolors) became widely known. Among them are The Face of the Ruling Class (1921). Ecce Homo (1922), Retribution Will Follow! (1922–23). and The New Face of the Ruling Class (1930). Their savagely grotesque style was influenced by simple graffiti. In these works Grosz maliciously and caustically exposed the egoism, cruelty, and corruption of the bourgeoisie and the inhumanity of militarism, and he revealed the horrors of the poverty and disfranchisement of the people and the growing awareness of the working class. From 1932 to 1959, Grosz lived in the USA, where he did not participate in politics but created a number of pointedly critical social paintings (Peace, 1946, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).


A Little Yes and a Big No. New York, 1946.


[S”edin. V.] Georg Gross. Moscow-Leningrad. 1931.
Lang, L. (ed.). George Grosz. Berlin. 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Grosz, George

(1893–1959) graphic artist, painter; born in Berlin, Germany. He studied art in Dresden and Berlin and served in the German army in World War I. After years of producing drawings that bitterly satirized middle-class complacency, militarism, and Nazism, he emigrated to New York City in 1932, eventually establishing his studio on Long Island. Early associated with Dadaism, the movement that embraced the absurdity of life, he became known as the printmaker and painter who was a sophisticated realist; his later oils were more symbolic in nature. In 1959 he returned to Berlin where he died.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Edited by Patrick Georg Grosz and Pritty Patel-Grosz
"Ponce combines the politically schizophrenic life of Cuba in its coded guise with early modern artistic formulas that range from the Art Brut movement to Georg Grosz and Picasso," says Swiss art critic Hans Renggli.
Among them were vaunted 20th-century German artists Georg Grosz and Emil Nolde, along with leading exponents of both dadaism and expressionism.
In Part ii Maria Tatar then discusses figurations of war, women, and the city in the work of Otto Dix, military and sexual anxieties in the work of Georg Grosz, and the motif of sexual murder in Doblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz and in Lang's M.
Georg Grosz, the aggressively anti-war, anti-Nazi illustrator arrived in 1933.
It is a testament to Maria Tatar's interesting and important new book that - even if a social historian might fault her for failure to note and incorporate the medicalization of criminality and twentieth-century debates on justice into her thinking - she is able to place Fritz Lang's film into the context of a much broader discourse on sexual murder throughout the Weimar period, from the actual murders of criminals like Fritz Haarmann and Peter Kurten; through the figurative murders of artists like Otto Dix and Georg Grosz, who frequently depicted the killing and dismemberment of women in their art; to the disturbingly nonchalant literary violence against women in Alfred Doblin's modernist masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz.
At the same time, we encounter some of the contemporary players in the "revolving world factory" of 1920s Berlin: the Indian scholar Jagadis Chandra Bose, the theatre director Max Reinhardt, the pianist Lily Reiff, the satirist Georg Grosz; we are introduced to the Tibetan lamas who are her neighbors in the Saxon Inn, where they "inhabit almost the entire third floor" and occasionally run "with outstretched arms through the corridors of the hotel, frightening everyone with their ceremonial devils' masks."