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GEORGE GROSZ

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George Ehrenfried Grosz was born on July 26, 1893 in Berlin in  the family of Karl Ehrenfried Grosz and Maria Wilhelmina Louise. When the boy was 7 years old, his father died. Mother worked as a seamstress, her income was not enough and the family moved to Pomerania, where her mother began working in the officer casino.

In 1909, George entered the Royal Academy of Arts in Dresden and specialized in graphics, from 1910 began to cooperate with satirical magazines.

In 1913, George came to Paris, where he spent seven months in the Kolarossi studio. After Grosz returned to Germany, his caricatures were published in the magazines Ulk, Merry Leaflets and others. George also began creating illustrations for books and began to paint in oils. He painted what he saw - on the streets, in a cabaret, in a cafe, in the doorways. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes not funny, but true.

In August 1914, World War I began and George volunteered for the army. He was 21 years old. He was lucky and he did not get to the front. After the disease (inflammation of the auricle) in March 1915, George was assigned to the hospital and stayed in Berlin. There he met many artists and  writers. At the beginning of 1917, George was again called up for military service, but after "insulting the action" of one of the officers, he was arrested and placed in a hospital for the mentally ill, and in May 1917 he was finally appointed to the commission.

Returning from World War I, Grosz drew what he saw in Berlin - cabaret, speculators, beggars, prostitutes, bankers, Prussian military, aristocrats, drug addicts, disabled people, police, burghers. Grosz is a virtuoso draftsman who loves bold, meaningful contrasting compositional comparisons, unusual angles. But all this - the displacement of plans, expressive detail, the sharpness of the line - is subordinated to the opening of the satirical essence of the phenomenon. These are the techniques of grotesque, hyperbolization, without which satire cannot exist.

He was constantly accused of “pornography”, “insulting public morality”, “anti-patriotism”.  All recognized the skill of Grosz as an artist. But his works - both drawings and picturesque paintings - are tough, merciless, angry, disturbing, provoking ... Most of them cannot be hung in the living room or bedroom, they are not for offices or conference rooms. They are not subject to decoration. And this is their strength. The Nazis confiscated George Grosz’s drawings and museums from galleries and galleries, burned albums in squares.

During the uprising of Spartacus in Berlin, Gross was arrested, but thanks to false documents, he managed to be free. In 1922, together with the writer Martin Andersen Nex, made a five-month trip to the USSR, during which he met with V. Lenin and L. Trotsky. However, what he saw does not inspire Grosch to sing about Soviet Russia, rather he pushes him to quit the Communist Party, which is what happens in 1923.

The works of Grosz of the 1920s can be characterized as political and social satire. Art critics define them both as satirical avant-garde and as social expressionism. Some of his works (especially early ones) are considered as classics of Dadaism. Some later works are considered as  the forerunner of such a trend as pop art.

 

But no one doubts that George Grosz entered the history of painting as an outstanding political artist. When the fascists seized power in Germany, they banned the work of progressive artists objectionable to them. In this black list, the name of the largest satirist artist George Grosz was named among the first. Old magazines with his drawings were burned at the stake, painting could not be shown in the halls of museums.

In the early 1930s, when the fascists were already openly preparing to seize power, Grosz left from Hitler's Germany for the United States of America. In 1938, Grosz was deprived of German citizenship. His recent work in America was a collage that recalls his period of Dadaism and is considered the forerunner of the artistic movement known as pop art.

In 1959, Grosz returned to Berlin and a month after returning July 5, died in his home.