George Grosz

(1893—1959) German painter and draughtsman

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German-born US draughtsman and painter, who is best known as a caricaturist and satirist.

After studying art in Dresden and Berlin, Grosz drew for satirical reviews, depicting social corruption in Germany, particularly of the Prussian military caste. His first books of drawings appeared in 1915 and 1916. His experience of military and civilian life in World War I strengthened his feeling of revulsion at contemporary bourgeois society and he became a prominent member of the Berlin dada movement after the war. In the mid-1920s he became a leading figure in the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement, which combined the German postwar feeling of resignation and cynicism with an enthusiasm for social realism in art. Grosz published several books of satirical drawings in the 1920s, including The Face of the Ruling Class and Ecce Homo, for which he suffered numerous prosecutions.

In 1932 his international reputation as a left-wing satirical artist led to an invitation to teach at the US Art Students' League in New York and he settled in the USA the following year, becoming a US citizen in 1938. Although he continued to satirize bourgeois materialism, his later work, much of it in oils, was more romantic and lyrical, consisting largely of landscapes and still lifes and occasionally of apocalyptic visions. Returning to Germany in 1959, Grosz died soon after his arrival in Berlin.

Subjects: Art.

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