George GroszGerman artist (1893-1959)
George Grosz, 1930
'Art is dead..' - Grosz and Heartfield at the Dada
fair in Berlin, 1920: Árt is dead. Long live Tatlin's new machine art'
photo of 'Grand opening of the first Dada exhibition, Berlin, 5 June 1920' - George Grosz at the right, with hat and stick
photo of the colored work 'Daum marries her pedantic automaton George in May 1920, John Heartfield is very glad of it', taken during the preparation of the exhibition 'George Grosz: Berlin - New York', September 1995 in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. A colored image of the work you find on Wikipedia: George Grosz
I am lonely without measure; that is to say, I am alone with my doubles, phantasms in whom I realize specific dreams, ideas, inclinations, and so on. I rip three other people out of my inner life, give them names, and believe in them myself. Gradually three clearly defined types have emerged: *1: Grosz. *2: Count Ehrenfried, the nonchalant aristocrat with the well-manicured fingernails, concerned only with cultivating himself; in a word, the detached, aristocratic individualist. *3: The physician. Dr. William King Thomas, the more American, practical counterweight to Grosz the mother figure.
Letter, September 1915, to Robert Bell; in Grosz, Briefe, p. 30 ff; as cited in 'Portfolios', Alexander Dückers; in German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, p. 112 - note 61
Day after day gasped away, slowly seep hours when fettered or immured, only at times does imagination scale the palisades that the spirit of chaos and confusion, the spirit of reactionary bombast, has set up around us - dreams, dreams of endless, destructive hate! Mists of hate, beclouding the burning brain!
- Letter to Otto Schmalhausen, 4 April, 1917 (Briefe, p. 49); as quoted in 'Portfolios', Alexander Dückers; in German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, p. 89 - note 62
- George Grosz was early January 1917 recalled into the German army, only to be transferred shortly afterward to Gorden mental hospital near Brandenburg. From there he wrote this letter. At the end of April 1917 he was sent home, and on 20 May he was discharged on grounds of 'permanent unfitness for duty'
Art today is an absolutely secondary matter. Anyone who is able to look further than the walls of his own studio can see this.. .All the same, art is a business that demands a very clear decision from anyone who undertakes it. It is not immaterial where you stand in this business.. .Are you on the side of the exploiters or on that of the masses, who want to wring the exploiters' necks?
Grosz, Nov. 1920 in: 'Zu meinen neuen Bildern', Das Kunstblatt 5., no. 1 (1921): as cited in 'Portfolios', Alexander Dückers; in German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, pp. 91-92
I see the future development of painting taking place in workshops.. ..not in any holy temple of the arts. Painting is manual labor, no different from any other. It can be done well or poorly.
Quoted by William Bolcom, in The End of the Mannerist Century / quoted in Art of the 20th Century, Part 1, Karl Ruhrberg, Klaus Honnef, Manfred Schneckenburger, Christiane Fricke; publisher: Taschen 2000, p. 190
Árt is dead. Long live Tatlin's
new machine art.
Grosz and Heartfield
, 1920: text on their billboard at the Dada fair in Berlin
Yes, [to] the Communist party! [the presiding judge asked Grosz: 'Do you belong to a political party?']
- In newspaper 'Frankfurter Zeitung', 4 Dec. 1930, second morning edition [copy, in the 'Archive of the National-Galerie', East Berlin])
- the statement in this German newspaper reports of the case, brought against Grosz for 'blasphemy', over his portfolio of prints: 'Hintergrund' (Background)
A composition should be simple and clear. That is why the drawings of children and primitives are so strong.
- In: a student's unpublished papers 'Notes on Drawing and Water Golor, 1935-36', George Grosz estate, Princeton, N.J.; as quoted in: George Grosz: Leben und Werk, ed. Uwe M. Schneede; Verlag Gerd Hatje, Stuttgart 1975, p. 38
- In the 1930's Grosz encouraged as art-teacher his students at the Art Students League in New York to study children's drawings
A great deal that had become frozen within me in Germany melted here in America and I rediscovered my old yearning for painting. I carefully and deliberately destroyed a part of my past.
In his autobiography, 1946, p. 270; as quoted on Wikipedia: George Grosz
My Drawings expressed my despair, hate and disillusionment, I drew drunkards; puking men; men with clenched fists cursing at the moon ... I drew a man, face filled with fright, washing blood from his hands ... I drew lonely little men fleeing madly through empty streets. I drew a cross-section of tenement house: through one window could be seen a man attacking his wife; through another, two people making love; from a third hung a suicide with body covered by swarming flies. I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crustacean-like steel arms; two medical soldiers putting a violent infantryman into a strait-jacket made of a horse blanket ... I drew a skeleton dressed as a recruit being examined for military duty. I also wrote poetry.
as cited by Otto Friedrich in Before the Deluge
, Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1987, p. 37 - ISBN 0-88064-054-5
Quotes about George Grosz
This cynic is a secret moralist. Negation is merely his manner of speaking; what he really.. ..loves is the positive. One might think: one little push, and he would he painting pictures full of ecstasy and mysticism. It is his personal bad luck that he is condemned to be a caricaturist. In any case he is never going to be a humorist like Wilhelm Busch
, one of the comfortable kind. There is no telling that he will become. For the time being we recall the old saying that yes and no are very close neighbors, in life and in art.
Ludwig Coellen, in his article 'Die erste George Grosz Mappe', Das Kunstblatt 1. no. 1 (1917), p. 349; as cited in 'Portfolios', Alexander Dückers; in German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, p. 98
The court ordered the artist Grosz to pay a fine of 300 marks and the publisher Herzfelde to pay 600 marks, ordered the plates and printing forms to be confiscated and destroyed, and assigned publication rights to the ministry - Dada!
- Quote from an unsigned article in 'Vossische Zeitung', Berlin, 21 April, 1921; first supplement; as quoted by Alexander Dückers; in German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, p. 93 note 70
- Grosz was indicted for 'insult to the German Army', because of his print-portfolio: 'Gott mit uns / God is with us', with 9 images. The suit, brought by the Army Ministry, ended with a verdict that some regarded as truly Dadaist. The Berlin newspaper reported it in this way
[Grosz] publicly stated that he was neither Christian nor pacifist, but was actively motivated by an inner need to create these pictures", and was finally acquitted after two appeals.
David Nash, in Blasphemy in the Christian World: A History
; Oxford University Press. p. 112, ISBN 9780199570751
; as quoted on Wikipedia: George Grosz
George Grosz gave a fantastic testimony of Berlin life during a terrible period, divided between fascism
. He was active in the communist party but had an anarchist's fascination for the characters of underground life. Military figures, prostitutes and violence abound, and fascinate the viewer.. ..this meant he instinctively rooted his art in the common people. It also explains, I think, why caricature and graphic design in magazines and newspapers held such an appeal for him.
But while he [Grosz] painted all this violence, we can see from his first drawings onward that he had an ambivalent attitude towards it: he rejected it, and at the same time was fascinated by it. In this respect, he has had some influence on what I do. Grosz's ambivalence is something that I have in myself.. .This is a great paradox of art and literature – what is despicable in life can be very attractive and appealing in art. You nourish yourself with everything that you hate.
Some of the names Grosz gave himself in letters written between 1913 and 1920 are "Prof Thomas," "Ritter von Thorn," "Gogo," "Dr. Maschin George Ventil," and, complete with place of residence "Lord HattonDixon, New Castle Town," and "Edgar H. Hussler, Boston." He often signed drawings with "Boff" (or "Boffel" or "Fobb"; see number 6 of 'Gott mit uns'); this was a variation on "Boeuf," which was his friends' nickname for him. There is often an element of Dadaist alienation and also of straightforward in this, but not always.
in 'Portfolios', Alexander Dückers, German Expressionist Prints and Drawings - Essays Vol 1.; published by Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California & Prestel-Verlag, Germany, 1986, p. 112 note 61
Last edited on 19 August 2020, at 13:15
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