Георг Гросс George Grosz (Georg Groß) ★

Life and Work

1893 – George Grosz is born to Karl and Maria (Schultze) Groß in Berlin on July 26.

1898 – His family moves to Stolp (Słupsk), Pomerania.

1900 – His father dies, and his mother with children moves to Berlin.

1902 – They return to Stolp, where George attends an industrial school and Sunday drawing school.

1909 – Grosz enrolls at the Royal Academy of Arts, Dresden, where he studies under Prof. Richard Müller, Osmar Schindler, Robert Sterl and Raphael Wehle.

1910 – The first drawing by Grosz is published by Ulk, the Berliner Tageblatt supplement.

1912-16 – Grosz studies under Prof. Orlik at the Berlin College of Arts and Crafts and does his first oils.

1913 – In spring Grosz makes his first trip to Paris, where he draws from nature at the Atelier Colarossi and meets Jules Pascin. He returns to Berlin just in time for the First German Autumn Salon, which became an outlet for a broad range of modernist art trends (Expressionism, Futurism and so on).

1914-15 – Grosz does military service, falls ill and is demobilized.

1916-17 – Grosz is active in Berlin. In late 1916 the Expressionist poet and critic Theodor Däubler writes in Die Weißen Blätter about Grosz and makes him famous.

1916 – The Aktion journal publishes a poem and two anti-war drawings by Grosz.

1916-17 – Die Neue Jugend almanac and the Neue Jugend journal of Wieland Herzfelde publish eight poems and 13 drawings by Grosz.

1917 – The Malik-Verlag of Berlin puts out the Erste George Grosz Mappe, nine lithographs, then Kleine Grosz Mappe, 20 lithographs.

1917-18 – Grosz serves in the army, is court-martialled for disobedience and sentenced to death by firing squad, which he escapes through the intervention of the collector Count Harry Kessler.

1918 – Together with John Heartfield, Grosz works on cartoon films.

1919 – Joins the Communist Party of Germany. On December 31, 1918, Rosa Luxemburg gives Party cards to Grosz, Heartfield, Herzfelde and Piscator.

1919 – Together with Heartfield, Grosz publishes and contributes to the satirical Jedermann seine igener Fußball (Everybody His Own Football), which is banned. With Wieland Herzfelde, he founds the Communist newspaper Die Pleite (The Crash, 1919-20), also banned. Together with Karl Einstein, he publishes Der Blutige Ernst (Bloody Serious) journal. Has his first solo exhibition at the Neue Kunst/Hans Goltz gallery and joins the Dada movement in Berlin.

1920 – The Malik-Verlag publishes the Gott mit uns (God with Us) portfolio of nine lithographs. Grosz is fined 5,000 German Marks for defaming the Reichswehr (army) and for the anti-militarist thrust of his publication. He marries Eva Luisa Peter. Together with Heartfield, he does stage design for the production of Bernard Shaw’s Ceasar and Cleopatra at the Max Reinhardt Theater and makes collages for the title pages of some of the Malik-Verlag publications.

1921 – Grosz illustrates books by Martin Andersen Nexǿ, Alphonse Daudet and Erich Reiss. The Malik-Verlag publishes The Face of the Ruling Class (57 drawings) and In the Shadows (9 lithographs).

1922 – The Malik-Verlag publishes Retribution Will Follow (57 political drawings) and Ecce Homo (84 lithographs and 16 watercolors). Grosz produces illustrations for Alfred Richard Meyer’s Lady Hamilton (8 lithographs, Fritz Gurlitt Verlag, Berlin); fined 6,000 German Marks for “offense against public morality” in his Ecce Homo portfolio.

1924-25 – Chairs the Rote Gruppe (Red Group) of Communist artists and regularly contributes to the Communist satirical weekly, Der Knüppel (until 1927); holds his first exhibition in Paris in November.

1925 – The Malik-Verlag, Berlin, publishes Art Is in Danger by George Grosz and Wieland Herzfelde; the Reisner Verlag, Dresden, puts out 60 drawings of The Mirror of the Bourgeoisie series (2nd edition, 1932); the Propyläen Verlag published Heinrich Mann’s Kobes novella with illustrations by Grosz; contributes to the New Objectivity exhibition in Mannheim.

1926 – Regularly collaborates with the Simplicissimus satirical magazine (until 1932).

1927 – Dusseldorf awards a Gold Medal to Grosz; exhibits 25 paintings at the Alfred Flechtheim gallery.

1928 – The Malik-Verlag publishes the Hintergrund  (Background) – 17 drawings by Grosz for the production of Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk at the Piscator Theater. Grosz is charged with “blasphemy” and fined 2,000 German Marks.

1930 – The Malik-Verlag publishes The New Face of the Ruling Class (60 drawings) and Die Gezeichneten (The Doomed, 60 drawings) and the Bruno Cassirer Verlag, Berlin, another 60 drawings and watercolors under the title Love Above All. Grosz exhibits at the Venice Biennale.

1931 – Grosz has his first solo exhibition in New York; gets the Watson F. Blair Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago; exhibits new paintings in Berlin in October.

1932 – Grosz is invited to teach at the Art Students League; returns to Germany in October; the Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Potsdam, publishes illustrations to Bertolt Brecht’s Three Soldiers (25 drawings) by Grosz.

1933 – Grosz and wife move to New York in January; in spring he opens an art school, together with Maurice Stern; teaches intermittently at the Art Students League in 1933-6, 1940-2, 1943-9 and 1950-3 and also during the 1932, 1933, 1949 and 1950 summer seasons.

1935 – Travels to Europe (visits France, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark) and exhibits in New York.

1936 – Publishes Interregnum (64 lithographs) in New York.

1937 – Gets the Guggenheim Prize. Five paintings, two watercolors and 13 drawings of Grosz are displayed at the “Degenerate Art” exhibition organized by the Nazis in Munich; 285 works by Grosz are withdrawn from German museums and destroyed. Thirty-five of his paintings are exhibited in Chicago.

1938 – Grosz is stripped of German citizenship in March and gets his American passport in November.

1939 – Twelve of his paintings are exhibited in New York.

1940 – Gets the Watson F. Blair Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago and a medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1941 – Twenty paintings (mostly landscapes) are exhibited in New York.

1941-1942 – Teaches at the School of Fine Arts, Columbia University.

1943 – Exhibits 38 paintings in New York in January; exhibits in Washington in May; The New Yorker (November-December) publishes Profiles.

1944 – Illustrations to Dante’s Divine Comedy (32 drawings, Modern Library Random House, New York); George Grosz: Drawings (compiled by Herbert Bittner, New York); George Grosz (Ed. S. Herman, New York); has an exhibition in Baltimore.

1945 – The Carnegie Institute awards George Grosz another prize.

1946 – A retrospective “A Piece of My World in a World without Peace” (1914-1946) is held in New York; a book of memoirs, A Little Yes and a Big No, (translated from the German) is published in New York.

1951 – Grosz travels to Europe, visiting France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands, and does a series of paintings and watercolors, Dallas Impressions, on commission from A. Harris & Co., Dallas, Texas.

1952 – An exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.

1954 – The Whitney Museum holds a retrospective of Grosz’s paintings, watercolors and drawings. Grosz travels to Europe again.

1954-55 – Grosz makes costume sketches for American prints in the Berlin Comedy.

1955 – Ade. Witboi (Introduction by Walter G. Oshilevsky) is published in Berlin, including 51 works by Grosz; A Little Yes and a Big No is published in German, Rowolt, Hamburg.

1958 – Stays briefly in Berlin; elected full member of the Academy of Arts, West Berlin.

1959–In mid-June Grosz moves to Germany; dies in Berlin on July 6.




George Grosz. Thoughts and Work. Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975