Moeller Fine Art New York is pleased to announce “George Grosz, Esq., Drawings for Esquire Magazine”, on view in the New York gallery through 18 February 2011.
Between September 1936 and January 1939, Esquire: The Magazine for Men commissioned George Grosz (1893-1959) to create drawings illustrating articles and short stories. Moeller Fine Art will exhibit a selection of these rare and never-before-seen works, highlighting a vital though little-known aspect of the artist's oeuvre.
In his autobiography (1946), Grosz wrote, "I would have given anything to become an American illustrator, one of the chosen ones who do the pictures for short stories in popular magazines. When I was a beginner, and later in my crazy Dada or cubist days, I would sneak a look at those illustrations that stayed close to nature. They were truly something for the masses. Everybody could understand them; no explanations from grandiloquent art historians were needed. It was folk art in modern clothing, with wide distribution."
George Grosz got his wish. In January 1933, only two weeks before Adolf Hitler came to power, he arrived in America, a land of promise and adventure far from the looming peril he had left behind in Berlin. Grosz first received contracts from the magazine Vanity Fair, followed by a full-time contract from Esquire three years later. In his autobiography, Grosz describes the latter as: "a very attractive advertisement for a clean, appetizing, super-modern country where everything was fresh and friendly and smiling in contrast to sour-faced Europe." Esquire, founded by David A. Smart and William H. Weintraub at the height of the Depression, indeed provided an entertaining, large-format magazine that targeted style-conscious, leisure-loving, middle-class men. The monthly included pieces on fashion, exotic travel, and gourmet cuisine, as well as literary and political essays by such notable authors as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Morley Callaghan.
Grosz's first commission came in the fall of 1936 and was published in the magazine with an essay by John Dos Passos. The illustrations are biting satires on American life, exhibiting a mastery of expressive line, cruel wit, and penetrating intelligence. The drawings were never exhibited, and appear here in public for the first time.
The exhibition is realized in cooperation with the estate of the artist. An illustrated catalogue, with an essay by Dr. Frank Whitford (Cambridge University), has been published in conjunction with the exhibition.
For further information and images, please contact the gallery at 212-644-2133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.