Born July 29, 1862, in Stendal; died Jan. 26, 1927, in Freiburg. German ethnologist and art historian.
Grosse’s main interests were the origin of art and the forms of the family. His works Forms of the Family and the Forms of Economy (1896; Russian translation, 1898) and The Origin of Art (1894; Russian translation, 1899) contain a mass of factual ethnographic and archaeological material; his treatment of the subjects, however, combines vulgar materialism with idealism. For example, he mechanistically linked family type, as well as the origin and early forms of art, to the “forms of economy,” by which he meant solely the forms of utilization of the tools of production. According to Grosse, as society evolves, art becomes completely separated from the practical needs of the people and develops only as a result of man’s inherent sense of beauty and his desire for aesthetic pleasure.