Grosz, George

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Grosz, George

George Grosz (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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