The Berlin of George Grosz: Drawings, Watercolours and Prints, 1912-1930

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9780300072068: The Berlin of George Grosz: Drawings, Watercolours and Prints, 1912-1930

No other artist's work depicts Berlin of the 1920s as unmistakably as the paintings, drawings, and prints of George Grosz (1893-1959). At first politically committed but then increasingly disillusioned, Grosz portrayed Germany from its defeat in World War I, through economic and political crisis, to the rise and triumph of Fascism. His work teems with the characters of the capital of the Weimar Republic: the prostitutes and pimps, the beggars and black marketeers, the scheming politicians, vengeful military and judiciary personnel, dissatisfied workers, and self-important bourgeoisie.

This book presents about 150 of Grosz's finest works on paper. It also provides fascinating information about the artist, including several of his key theoretical essays and many revealing letters that are here translated into English for the first time. Grosz was more than a merciless satirist and accurate social commentator: he was also one of the greatest artists of the age whose unerring, razor-sharp line and unique powers of observation were complemented by stylistic and technical innovations. He put the fragmentation of Cubism and Futurism to new ends, gave a new dimension to the mysterious anonymity of metaphysical painting, and employed photomontage (he was one of the earliest practitioners) to reflect the energy and confusion of his period. Grosz was a member of the artistic avant-garde, a key personality in the Dada movement, and he also appealed to a mass audience through his political cartoons, unmatched since Daumier's satirical works of the previous century.

This book is the catalogue for an exhibition at the Royal Academy in London from March to June, 1997.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

This volume demonstrates how brilliantly Grosz caught the life, and more importantly the feverish imagination, of a city and a nation in a particularly turbulent time. Marrying the jumpy lines and figural distortions of cubism to narrative subjects and an angry sense of morality, he illuminated the tawdry, often violent, lives of Berlin's down-and-out, its powerbrokers, and its murderers, during the chaotic Weimar years of the 1920s, in corrosive, unsettling, kinetic images. The drawings and prints of drunken prostitutes and their leering customers, calm murderers inspecting the bodies of their victims, fat businessmen and their voluptuous mistresses, prim bourgeoisie and exhausted workers, and mutilated ex-soldiers, are complemented here by some of Grosz's less familiar, and equally disturbing, watercolors. Whitford, a former lecturer in art history at Cambridge, provides a useful introduction to Grosz's life and times, and detailed and very helpful annotations to the artwork. A superb overview of a unique career. (139 b&w and 54 color illustrations) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review:

Few artists have truly defined an era. George Grosz, the great truth-teller of Weimar Germany and the early Nazi years, came as close as any.... Though full of dark humor, many of the images retain their power to shock. -- The New York Times Book Review, Ted Loos

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