George Grosz - Dada

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George Grosz

George Grosz once said, “I thought the war would never end. And perhaps it never did, either.” Grosz took his feelings of the war and expressed them through his crude caricatures, illustrations, paintings, and poems. Grosz was an important member of the Dada movement. He engaged in touchy subjects during World War I such as: the deceitfulness of the government, prostitution, fat businessmen, sex crimes, Nazism, poverty, wounded soldiers, and other terror during the war. Grosz was born Georg Ehrenfried Gross in July of 1893, in Berlin. He received his education at the Dresden Art Academy. He first started his famous caricatures in 1910 which he had published in a few German journals. He graduated with honors in 1911. From 1912-1917 he continued his artistic education at a school that was attached to the Museum of Applied Arts in Berlin (nga.gov). In 1913 he started to develop his skill of rapid sketching in a class he took where models would change their poses every few minutes. That class encouraged him to draw even more and so he began to carry a small sketchbook everywhere he went. He often enjoyed sketching people on busy streets of Berlin. His later work was usually done with just pen and ink. Sometimes he would develop them further with watercolors. For example in his 1920 illustration known as “The Convict,” which some say is a prisoner in his cell (fig. 1). He also used oils and he even wrote poetry. Grosz was enlisted in the military in Berlin in 1914. While in the Berlin army he met John Heartifeld and Wieland Herzfelde. Later on Grosz and Heartfield collaborated many times. Grosz was released six months later due to minor head and hand injuries. In 1916 as an antinationalistic protest he changed his name, he wanted it to be a more Americanized name. He and Heartfield did this together. During his time at the war he continued to draw. According to Grosz: I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crab-like limbs of steel; two...
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