20 October 2013

Georg Grosz at Richard Nagy

George Grosz (or Groß, 1893‑1959) was first referred to here almost two years ago, and more recently I mentioned that some of his drawings are at Leicester. There seems to be only one of his paintings in a public collection in the UK, Selbstmörder (Suicide) 1916 owned by the Tate. Last year the Richard Nagy Ltd gallery showed the Silverman Collection of German and Austrian Expressionist art which included Grosz’s Tempo der Strasse (The Tempo of the Street, left). The Nagy gallery has included this picture in a new show of nearly 50 drawings, oils and watercolours, Georg Grosz’s Berlin: Prostitutes, Politicians, Profiteers, which, as they point out, is the first major exhibition in this country dedicated to Grosz since the Royal Academy’s retrospective in 1997.

The coarseness of Grosz’s work is not to everyone’s taste but his harsh satirical view of a ferocious crowded Berlin is a particular reflection of his times: German defeat in World War 1 and the exile of the Kaiser, hyperinflation, conflict between Communists and Nazis and the rise of Hitler. Most of the works are from 1918 to 1928, Grosz leaving Berlin for the US in 1932. He was a founder of Dada but his use of colour, often watercolour on a wetted surface, can be regarded as showing the influence of his Expressionist contemporaries, although he was undoubtedly familiar with Futurism and Cubism as well.

The Nagy exhibition (above) continues until 2 November, and worth seeing for anyone with an interest in inter-war European art.

No comments:

Post a Comment