New York

George Grosz: His Visual and Theatrical Politics

October 26 – December 22, 2005

Spaziergang (The Stroll), c. 1926
watercolor on paper
24 3/8 x 17 3/4 in (61.8 x 45.1 cm)
Pandemonium, 1914
india ink on paper
19 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (50 x 31.8 cm)
Trio, order Etappe Gent oder Der Mensch ist Gut, 1919
(Trio, or Army Base Ghent, or Man is Good)
pen and ink on paper
18 1/2 x 14 5/8 in (46.9 x 37.2 cm)
signed lower right, signed and titled on verso
Worker Reading a Newspaper, 1927-28
watercolor and ink on paper
19 5/8 x 15 3/8 in (50 x 39.3 cm)
signed and annotated lower right
Der Paragraphenhengst (The Pedant), 1927-28
ink and pencil on paper
15 3/8 x 19 5/8 in. (39.3 x 50.1 cm)
inscribed with animation directives
The Captain, 1924
watercolor on paper
19 x 9 in (48.2 x 23 cm)
annotated lower right

Press Release

Achim Moeller is pleased to announce a major exhibition of drawings and watercolors by George Grosz, artist and political satirist. "George Grosz: His Visual and Theatrical Politics" will be presented at Moeller Fine Art, New York, from October 27 to December 23, 2005. Approximately seventy drawings will be exhibited. While the exhibited works range in date from 1914 to 1930, all but five were executed in the 1920s.


The exhibition focuses on Grosz's years in Berlin during the 1920s. Berlin was in that decade a hotbed of political activity and social intrigue. While dominated by corruption and excess, it was nevertheless an environment that fueled creativity, and many artists and literary figures were highly productive during this time. Some of the most candid artistic renderings of the German capital are seen in the art of George Grosz. From caricature-like figure drawings and nudes to bustling street scenes, the works in the show display some of the artist's most politically pointed commentaries. Included is Grosz's drawing for the coverplate of Die Räuber (The Robbers), a collection of lithographs after the play by Friedrich Schiller and one of Grosz's most infamous political works.


Theater life in 1920s Berlin was vital and innovative, as artists began to use the stage as well as the canvas as a political platform. Between the years 1919 and 1930, Grosz was involved in nearly a dozen theater productions. Fourteen works on display are from his series of drawings and watercolors executed for The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk. The play satirizes the pretensions of the bourgeoisie, the bureaucracy of the military, and the hypocrisies of the clergy, topics that Grosz also dealt with extensively in his own work. Adapted for the stage by Bertolt Brecht, among others, from the novel by Jaroslav Haek, this enormously successful play was directed by Erwin Piscator, renowned for his innovative political theater.


In addition to stage sets and costumes, Grosz also designed for this production over-lifesize cut-out figures that were moved across the stage on conveyor belts and animated film cartoons projected onto large screens onstage. For the play, Grosz made approximately three hundred sketches, most of which include animation directives. The film is lost, but the sketches provide insight about how it was conceived.


The exhibition catalogue focuses on Grosz's work for the theater and examines the social and political context of 1920s Berlin. It includes an essay by Peter Selz and synopses of the plays and a chronology by Britta von Campenhausen. Of the one hundred illustrations, twenty are colorplates.


The exhibition is accompanied by the cabaret program "Good-bye Trouble: George Grosz, Erwin Piscator, and the Roaring '20s in Berlin", directed by Gregorij H. von Leïtis, artistic director of Elysium--Between Two Continents. The performances take place Sundays at 5 p.m. on October 30 and November 6, 13, and 20.