George Grosz exhibition in London

This video says about itself:

“George Grosz’s Ecce Homo” presented by Max Waterhouse

Max Waterhouse presents the ‘Ecce Homo’ suite by George Grosz, one of the most celebrated major artists of the 20th century.

Published in 1923, ‘Ecce Homo’ was a suite of 100 prints depicting the sordid affairs of Berlin’s middle classes. The German authorities were so offended by the images that they prosecuted Grosz and many of the prints later perished in Nazi book burnings.

The original lithographs are now scarce. Most often seen are 1965-66 reprints. Ours are from the original 1922 printings (and look that much richer for it).

To view original prints by Grosz from the ‘Ecce Homo’ series click here.

Biography – George Grosz was born in Berlin and studied there and in Dresden before moving to Paris in 1913 to develop his artistic style. Grosz fought in WW1 but after being hospitalized was discharged in 1915. Grosz was later conscripted, but in 1917 the army decided to execute him after a failed suicide attempt; their decision was fortunately overturned with the help of his patron, Count Kessler.

Grosz’s wartime experiences deeply affected his political outlook. He began to convey his hatred of German militarism in satirical images, though his subject matter was soon noticed by the authorities: Grosz was on one occasion prosecuted for indecent representations, which offend the sense of modesty and morality of a person of normal feeling. Inevitably, Grosz was hounded by the authorities and in 1933 he fled to America to settle permanently, returning to Berlin just once before his death there in 1959.

By Michal Boncza in England:

Savage satirist of capitalism

Thursday 21st May 2015

German artist George Grosz, unsurpassed master of biting political and social comment in the 1920s, has few equals even today, says MICHAL BONCZA

George Grosz: The Big No
London Print Studio, London W10

THE BIG NO is staggering exhibition of 84 black-and-white drawings and 16 watercolours by George Grosz, the co-founder of the Dada art movement following WWI.

They’re part of two of his most significant portfolios, Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) from 1923 and Hintergrund (Background) of 1928.

The latter was published as a companion to Erwin Piscator’s stage production, co-written by Bertolt Brecht, of the anti-militaristic farce The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek.

After the WWI defeat of Germany, the Weimar republic clung desperately to notions of past political grandeur that were soon to be swept aside by the rise of fascism and the epoch-changing defeat of social democracy.

Hintergrund, distributed to the audience at the play’s premiere, landed Grosz and Piscator in court on the later-rescinded charges of “blasphemy and defamation of the German military.”

The Berlin-based Grosz faced a ruthless capitalist world he abhorred and he had a sharp eye for its corrosive corruption and loathsome perpetrators, whom he mercilessly put to the satirical sword. Even today his works have lost little of their savage thrust.

His astonishing draughtsmanship employs sublime detail-defining lines in fine ink-pen and bold brush strokes conveying movement or defining gesture.

“I drew drunkards, puking men, men with clenched fists cursing at the moon, men playing cards on the coffins of the women they had murdered,” Grosz wrote of his work.

“I drew a man — face filled with fright — washing blood from his hands … I was each one of the characters I drew, the champagne-swilling glutton favoured by fate no less than the poor beggar standing with outstretched hands in the rain. I was split in two, just like society at large.”

In Grosz’s work ever-present sexual exploitation, debauched orgies, domestic violence and sexual crime paint women at the mercy of ruthless men filled with vice, egotism and malice.

They certainly don’t seem out of place today, particularly the sexual grooming depicted in his work Spring Awakening.

The police confiscated most copies of Ecce Homo soon after publication and Grosz and its publisher were prosecuted for obscenity. Ten years later in May 1933 the nazis burned all remaining drawings and plates. Grosz was named a “cultural Bolshevik,” prompting his emigration to the US.

His works were further publicly denounced at the infamous 1937 exhibition of “degenerate art” organised by the Nazi Party.

The courage of Grosz’s convictions —which put him at grave personal risk — is vividly on show here and it’s as inspirational as it is edifying.

It’s rare to come across an exhibition of such significance and calibre in a relatively impoverished part of London. But it’s hardly surprising, given that it houses a studio whose mission statement is to “empower people and communities through practical engagement with the visual and graphic arts.”

That’s what this exhibition lives up to. Unmissable.

Runs until June 20. Free. Opening times: Ecce Homo can also be viewed here.

This video from Ireland says about itself:

20 July 2012

As part of the Arts Festival, the Galway City Museum has launched a George Grosz exhibition. Grosz is known worldwide as one of the great satirists of the 20th century. Up to a hundred pieces are on display at the museum.

Breandán Ó’hEaghra, the deputy director discusses the man’s work and we get to see some of the highlights.

11 thoughts on “George Grosz exhibition in London

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