Looking Inside George Grosz painted Inside and Outside in 1926, a time in his career when he was still

actively engaged in leftist political agitation in Germany. The message of this painting, like most of his political art, is simple and direct. The “outside” represents the desolate world of the oppressed lower class, whereas the “inside” displays the luxury enjoyed by the upper class. The purpose of art, for Grosz, was to expose societal inequality. He sought to portray “brutal reality,” a reality of injustice and exploitation that is usually hidden from the masses. Combining avant-garde formal techniques with traditional naturalism, Grosz tried to achieve the most accurate and transparent rendering of this social reality. Grosz’s radicalism can be traced back to the German war of 1914-18. The war dramatically changed Grosz from an innocuous artist cultivated in the academy into an active political revolutionary. After witnessing the horrors of the war, he began to develop the devout moral purpose that transformed him into a critical artist, charged with the mission of instructing the German people. During the chaotic interwar period of the Weimar Republic, high unemployment, the burden of reparation repayment, and hyperinflation left scores of Germans in a state of penury. Hitler gained power and started building up nationalistic sentiment, expanding the military, and repressing wages and workers’ organizations. Throughout this period and up till WWII, when he fled Germany for America, Grosz engaged in revolutionary activities to champion the causes of the proletariat and to challenge belligerent nationalism and militarism. He joined the German Communist Party (KPD) in 1918 and becomes president over the “Red Group”, the first formal organization of KPD artists in 1924.

By designing posters, placards, leaflets, and newspaper contributions, Grosz drew to serve the needs of politics. He criticized ideas that the artist is somehow above the concerns of society or that works of art are sacred or transcendent. All art is engaged in the current political concerns of the age. The production of art, like any other industrial trade, is determined by the material circumstances that surround it. Any art that claims to be neutral or unrelated automatically serves to maintain the status quo. Revolutionary art, on the other hand, engages in the present-day conflicts of the working class man or woman by destabilizing dominant bourgeois modes of thought. Early on, Grosz became involved with the Berlin Dadaist movement, which sought to undermine the logical, efficient functioning of society through art. The influence of the Dadaist technique of photomontage, which Grosz helped develop, is apparent in Inside and Outside’s juxtaposition of disparate images. A Dadaist manifesto co-written by him asserted the greater purpose of this kind of work: “The highest art is one that manifests in its consciousness the countless problems of the present day, that seems to have risen out of the explosions of the previous week, and that takes its form from immediate contact with the conflicts of the present.”1 The manifesto declared the “feverish interrelatedness of everything”2, thus burying formalist notions of art’s autonomy. There is no “art for art’s sake,” only art for politics’ sake. In this manifesto, Grosz also launched attacks on German Expressionism: “Expressionist artists and writers have grouped together into a generation which is already looking longingly for literary and artistic esteem and honourable recognition from the bourgeoisie. Under the pretext of propagating spiritual values they have
George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 307. 2 “Dadaistisches Manifest,” 308.
1

2

retreated, in their struggles against Naturalism, into a set of abstract and sentimental postures which are based on a life which is cozy but devoid of content and action.”3 Grosz charged that the Expressionists, who often depicted the virtues of traditional German rural life, were guilty of retreating into a romantic, idealized world that remained completely disconnected from reality. In opposition to these contrived notions of essentialist beauty, Grosz sketched the ugly aspects of German society. Unwilling to content himself with drawing whitewashed illusions, he served as a muckraker by digging up the real, material corruption within Germany. But even though Grosz rejected Expressionism, its formal techniques found its way into his works. Grosz sought to render “reality,” but his version of reality was radically different from the visual correctness of “realistic” paintings in the Classical or Renaissance tradition. He wanted to capture social realities, which usually involved the artistic distortion of recognizable motifs. Grosz’s attempts to render an alternate reality are reminiscent of the Surrealists’ works and their interpretation of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and Marx’s writings on capitalist society. Surrealist artists, who also made frequent use of montages to achieve defamiliarizing effects, criticized the bias towards representing conscious reality at the expense of ignoring our unconscious existence. The conscious mind masks our unconscious to deny its existence. Similarly, Marx pointed out that capitalist society hides the contradictions and evils within society to blind the masses to the reality of their exploitation. Grosz’s work, like that of the Surrealists, were aimed at unearthing the dark, repressed, and disgusting deeper reality buried within the (social) subconscious.

3

“Dadaistisches Manifest,” 307.

3

Thus, art is a penetrating vision that pierces through dominant deceptions. This view of art’s role is the most obvious motif of Inside and Outside. Here, the artist’s painting pierces through a brick wall to reveal the corrupt insides of society. Inside and Outside draws a clear and incriminating connection between the visible plight of the lower class on the outside, and the hidden gluttony and selfishness of the upper class inside. Grosz was “hoping to kill [the essential villainy] by bringing it into the open.”4 Drawing off a Freudian idea, Grosz also revealed repressed sexual desire by rendering the outside lady’s dress transparent, thus displaying her buttocks. Accompanying her is a bourgeois man, whose body language suggests sexual intentions. The man’s left arm is wrapped around her waist, his right arm is animated, and his shoulders are shrugged in a guilty pose. It looks as if he is telling her a secret or suggesting something mischievous. She may be a prostitute, since prostitution, which involves men’s exploitation of women, is a common Grosz metaphor for the rich’s exploitation of the poor. Both forms of abuse are results of a system of rapacious greed, in which both women and workers are treated as objects to be used rather than as people. Because the painting is an attempt to expose this system, the lady’s transparent dress not only implies her commodification, but also suggests that the artist is trying to “strip naked” the realities of society for us to see. Another function of these two well-dressed figures on the outside is to emphasize class distinctions. The only faces we see on the outside is a war cripple trying to sell some matches and what appears to be a working class man. Both of them are in the foreground. The bourgeois couple, on the other hand, is in the background and is walking away from the viewer. Since their backs are turned towards us, we cannot see

4

Hans Hess, introduction to Drawings and Watercolors by George Grosz (Beverly Hills, CA: Paul Kantor Gallery, 1964).

4

their faces. What they are saying and doing is hidden from us; it is on the “inside.” The implication that they are about to engage in debauched behavior is knowable to us only because Grosz rendered her dress transparent. This division between rich and poor is the theme of the entire painting as a whole; the juxtaposition of different classes reveals society’s underlying inequality. The lower class has no access to the well-dressed couple’s secrets – to the inside. Separating the two classes is a brick wall. In notes written after this painting was composed, Grosz expresses his enmity towards the image of the wall: “I felt oppositions in society, like bleeding, gaping wounds, and even after the war had finished I saw brutality and horror... I often felt like a wall, giving off a bloody, dehumanized echo of the surrounding world. A wall onto which this present age engraved some of its ghostly and grotesque faces.”5 The wall is indeed surrounded by grotesque faces. The working man, rendered almost without dimensions in a wan monochrome, passes by like a ghost, and the cripple looks more like a skeleton than a live person. The oppositions of society on either side of the wall are stark. While the cripple leans against the hard brick wall, the wall of the inside is a soft, smooth, sky blue. Whereas the inside is detailed and elaborate, the outside is rough, sketchy, and blurry. Its cold drab tones contrasts with the inside’s range of hot flashy colors. The outside is actually narrower, taking up a significantly smaller proportion of the painting than the inside. Thus, the outside is marginalized in every sense. Inside, a bourgeois man celebrates his birthday. The strong complementary colors of green and red, with the green leaves and ribbon against a bright red curtain, set a festive tone. Just like the outside bourgeois man, whose folds of fat are constrained
5

George Grosz, “Notes for My Trial,” 3 December 1930, published in Flavell, 314.

5

only by his belt, fat droops out of the birthday man’s tuxedo collar to stress his excess of consumption. The vision-enhancing eyeglasses and monocle worn by two of the inside men draw attention to another form of bourgeois consumption – sight. The birthday man appears to be greedily gazing outside but the outside people cannot see inside; he symbolically devours and exploits the working class to support his gluttonous lifestyle. The woman on the outside is also the subject of a consumptive male gaze due to the exposure of her buttocks. Furthermore, the eyeglasses and monocle indicate the middle class’ artificiality. While the sun supplies light outside, a lamp lights the inside. All the inside characters strike stiff, sterile poses. In the background, an enormous centrally positioned man is surrounded by two obsequious women, one of whom preens herself by adjusting her pearl necklace. The man on the right is just as dainty and affected as the women. His tongue curls out licentiously, and he holds a cigarette in one hand and liquor in the other. Debauchery, excessive consumption, and artificiality pervade the inside. The inside’s table tilts towards the viewer. Though the rest of the scene suggests that we are supposed to see the table’s side, it looks as if we are looking down at the table from above. Grosz frequently used tilting planes and contradictory perspectives to “produce a visual chaos clearly intended as an equivalent for the social and moral chaos” of modern society.6 Here, the table is tilted to display all the items on top, showing us the birthday man’s commodities. These items range widely from the cold blue pale of ice on one side of the table to the hot lamp on the other side, whose yellow heat is enhanced by the red lampshade. Also on the table is a box of cigars, a champagne glass, an ashtray, and a noisemaker. The noisemaker enhances the sense that the inside is

6

Briony Fer, David Batchelor, and Paul Wood, Realism, Rationalism, and Surrealism (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993), 285.

6

loud and boisterous, in agreement with the overall impression of excess and selfindulgence. A birthday itself is a consumerized festival involving the accumulation of excessive commodities. In this painting, the “inside,” the heart or core of society, is rapaciously corrupt, rotten, and depraved. This kind of symbolic meaning pervades Inside and Outside. Significantly, the war veteran and working class man of the outside are on the “left” of the painting, whereas the bourgeois of the inside are on the “right” of the painting. Grosz thus synchronizes the classes of the painting with the political alignment most suited to them. Grosz, as a radical liberal, supported the oppressed people portrayed on the left, and the conservative bourgeois are placed on the right. In addition, each of the characters is an allegory for whole groups within society. As stated before, the outside people are the lower class whereas the inside people are the upper class. There are also individual “types” that are found throughout German society and Grosz’s paintings: the war cripple, the working class man, the affluent bourgeois man, and the frivolous bourgeois woman. In Inside and Outside, the contrast between the birthday man and the war cripple is stark. The birthday man wears a stiff, spruce suit whereas the cripple’s clothes, which are just as wrinkled as his skin, have torn and jagged edges. The war cripple’s hands are bony and gnarled and his face looks shriveled and shrunken while the birthday man’s hands and face are pudgy and bloated. The imbalance between these two characters are remarkable; one is huge and robust, the other is old and worn down. The contrast between the birthday man and working class man is just as harsh. The birthday man has huge eyes with bright white cornea, a large imposing nose, and robust ruddy cheeks. Green and red ribbons adorn him and a large fat cigar juts out from

7

his mouth. His thick protruding lips suggest lewd sensuality, emphasizing his corruption and moral depravity. As opposed to the working class man’s monochrome twodimensionality, the modeling of the birthday man’s suit is so exaggerated that color of the suit ranges from black to white. The birthday man’s features are large and imposing, and he exudes a strong, fat, obnoxious presence. The working class man, on the other hand, is both modestly dressed and modestly painted. As opposed to the birthday man’s exaggerated three-dimensionality, he is a two-dimensional figure rendered in a uniformly dull, purplish gray. His features are barely noticeable, delineated only by faint outlines. Overall, he is indistinct and unworthy of attention. The working class man’s expression is downcast, wrinkles and bags droop around his eyes, and a cigarette hangs feebly from his mouth. His lowered head and closed eyes suggest reluctance against facing the outside’s harsh sad reality with all its attendant ugliness. Outside, the lady’s fur coat and the barren leafless trees suggest a cold season. To deal with the inhospitable environment, the working class man’s coat is buttoned and his fists are tightly clenched. It is uncertain how he will respond to the cripple, who he about to pass; his averted gaze and defensively closed fists suggest that he is trying to ignore him. The stoicism of the working class man stands in severe opposition to the excessive overindulgence of the bourgeoisie. Whereas the birthday man’s eyes are wide open, devouring all the rich colors around him, the working class man closes his eyes to block out the hardships of his world. However, it should be noted that the war cripple and working class man are not idealized. The war cripple is still hideous, and the working class man looks unsympathetic to the cripple’s plight. In 1925, a year before this painting, Grosz was

8

criticized by the KPD for failing to render the working class in more positive terms. Grosz’s responded, “I... do not consider it necessary to satisfy the demands of a ‘Hurrah’-shouting Bolshevism which images the working man with his hair neatly combed and dressed up in archaic heroic costume.”7 Prior to this rift with the KPD, Grosz’s commitment to “realism” won him many conservative enemies. Compared to some of his other works, his portrayal of the bourgeois in Inside and Outside is rather lenient. Works that portrayed bourgeois figures engaged in violent and sexually explicit acts often landed him in court with charges of distributing obscene materials. In his defense, he says, “As a realist, I prefer to use my pen and brush primarily to put down what I see and observe; and this is generally unromantic, sober and far from idyllic.8 George Grosz cannot be called a realist in the traditional sense of visual accuracy, since his lurid cynicism bleeds into his work to result in glaring distortions. He says, “The last century laid a great deal of emphasis on the outer world of reality but neglected the inner world.” 9 However, his quest to reach beyond the visual surface never involves a complete abandonment of recognizable figuration. He warns, “Abstract fancy… is as much to be shunned by the artist as the slavish copying of nature.”10 Though Grosz’s work exhibits the influence of numerous avant-garde movements, he is an avant-garde artist in political rather than formal artistic terms. His art compromises between realism and abstraction to serve the ultimate role of composing a visually legible but critical rendition of social and political circumstances.

George Grosz, “My Life,” first published in Prozektor 14 (Moscow, 1928), 153. Translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 312. 8 Preface to Uber alles die Liebe, 1930, tr. by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 312. 9 George Grosz, “On my Drawings,” George Grosz (London: Peter Owen, 1954), 30. 10 “On my Drawings”, 31.
7

9

Works Consulted Fer, Briony, David Batchelor, and Paul Wood. Realism, Rationalism, and Surrealism. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993. Flavell, Mary Kay. George Grosz, a Biography. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988. Grosz, George. Drawings and Watercolors by George Grosz. Beverly Hills, CA: Paul Kantor Gallery, 1964. Grosz, George. “On my Drawings,” George Grosz. London: Peter Owen, 1954. McCloskey, Barbara. George Grosz and the Communist Party. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

10

BIBLIOGRAPHY  Realism, Rationalism, and Surrealism textbook, pages 41-42, 284-297, 314  George Grosz, M. Kay Flavell, 1988, Yale University Press, New Haven & London  Author:, Grosz, George, 1893-1959.; Title:, Drawings and watercolors by George Grosz : [catalogue of an exhibition held from] June 1-June 26, 1964 [at the] Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, California.; introduction by Hans Hess  Barbara McCloskey, George Grosz and the Communist Party (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997). stopped on top of p. 128  Misc bibliography mess  'Dadaistisches Manifest, (Dadist Manifesto), 1918 (with Richard Huelsenbeck et al.): Schneede, (2) pp. 20-2 (Schneede, DIE SWANZIGER JAHRE, pp. 20-2) tr. KF  hurrah-bolshevism stuff from here: My Life, 1928 Schneed, p. 153. First published in Prozektor 14, (Moscow, 1928), tr. KF.  Love Above All: preface to U(2 dots)ber alles die Liebe, 1930, tr. KF  from My Life. Notes for my Trial, 3 December 1930. Unpublished typescript in GAH, tr. KF. GAH = Grosz Archive, Houghton Library, Harvard University. letters and diaries.  Notes from George Grosz Teaching 1934. These notes, which reproduce Grosz's comments in class or notes on the back of student drawings, were compiled by Jent Moor in 1934-1945. Unpublished notes in GAH. Communist party was losing elections. KPD's number of depudies dropped form 62 to 45 in 1924. "If you're a Dadaist, you should be opposed to this manifesto!" (from a manifesto signed by him, Flavell, 308)  Out of opposition to the military scare campaign against Britain and intellectual affinity to the USA, he anglicized his name, which confirmed his anti-nationalist attitude. (Grove)  "In his polemical writings of the early 1920s, Grosz had frequently insisted on the utter irrelevance of issues of quality and distinctions between art and propaganda. the Berlin Dada movement, which he joined in 1918 (see Dada, §4). In 1920, with Heartfield and Otto Dix, he took part in the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe. As well as developing the technique of Photomontage, (Grove)  adopted by the gallery of Alfred Flechtheim in 1925. However, his attitude towards the class struggle was thereby blunted. "In 1926, Grosz became a director of a Society for Politics, Science, and the Arts, known as the 1926 Club." Art became the vehicle of his pessimistic world view, reflecting a ruined world that manifested itself most trenchantly in the big city and its excesses. (Grove)  "Down with the bloodless abstractions of Expressionism! Down with the utopian theories of literary twits!"11  "a psychological use of x-ray transparency" (Hess)  In his art he fought against preoccupations of Wilhelmine society by uncovering their shadowy aspects of crime, murder and erotic license. (Grove) The sexual murder became a prominent motif, in which the combination of sexuality and violence was presented as a ritualization of the human quest for power, exemplified by political practice. (Grove).  “contradictory grammars (massively receding perspective AND overlapping planes; stylization AND still legible figuration) produce a visual chaos clearly intended as an equivalent for the social 
11

George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 308.

11

and moral chaos of the modern city itself” (285). “tilting planes, the sharp diagonals, the abrupt changes of scale and the hurrying figures” “overlapping planes and dynamic ‘lines of force’” (textbook, 285) TENSION W/COMMUNIST PARTY  Grosz's growing pessimism about the masses. . awareness of the growth of fascism, and his belief that communism subscribed to an unrealistic psychology of mass behaviour (it couldn't be done). the masses were gradually being swung to the right. "hurra-bolshevism", no point in presenting a sentimental, idealized view of the proletariat.  response to complaints about his representation of workers :"I... do not consider it necessary to satisfy the demands of a 'Hurrah'-shouting Bolshevism which images the working man with his hair neatly combed and dressed up in archaic heroic costume... I absolutely reject the idea that one can only serve the cause of propaganda by producing a onesided, flattering and false idealization of life... The task of art is the help the worker understand his exploitation and his suffering, to compel him to acknowledge openly his wretchedness and enslavement, to awaken selfconsciousness in him and to inspire him to engage in class warfare."12 (Flavell, 312)  Kurt Tucholsky's letters in 1925. criticism of the quality of satire in Der Knuppel (u with two dots on top) Tucholsky asked "Why aren't you simply more naturalistic?... Because people instinctively realized that a contrived satire is complete nonsense."13  1925- criticism of Grosz's less-than-ideal portrayal of the proletariat at the Tenth Party Congress of the KPD in July 1925, the KPD leveled criticism at Der Knuppel. elitist and ineffective, more involved in producing art than political agitation "overintellectualization and failure to connect with the heroism of the class struggle"  use of satire was controversial, since satire had become a popular bourgeois thing  Grosz's growing status in the established German art world. Grosz coopted, or subsumed into the establishment, neutralized. CENSORSHIP DUE TO HIS DISGUSTING REALISM:  On 16 Gebruary 1924, Grosz stood trial once again, this time on charges of 'distributing obscene materials'" (106) Ecce Homo. "bourgeois figures with fleshy, misshapen bodies and scarred and blemished faces engage in a variety of explicit sexual acts. Thin and downtrodden workers, sailors, and war cripples, who appear in several of the images, occupy a peripheral role to the central thematic concern of bourgeois sexual indulgence." (McCloskey, 206)  the presiding judge "found Grosz's work too naturalistic in detail and lacking in the appropriate aesthetic distancing and artistic quality that would make such images acceptable for public distribution." (McCloskey, 107-108)  he ended up being fined 500 marks and his paintings were banned and confiscated  PESSIMISM  The war made Grosz into a misanthropist and a Utopian (Grove)  In 1918 he listed the qualities that he wished his art to possess: 'Hardness, brutality, clarity that hurts! There's enough soporific music.' (Grove)  cynicism, satire, caricature, “hedonistic and hostile”, rotten society, lurid  emotionless, unsentimental, distanced, alienated  grotesque, ugly, unattractive  "As a realist, I prefer to use my pen and brush primarily to put down what I see and observe; and this is generally unromantic, sober and far from idyllic. (paragraph break) Heaven knows why it's so, but when you look closely, people and objects can easily become inadeequate, ugly, and often meaningless or ambiguous... So when I put down my graphic signs; they are sober and without any mystery."14 (Love Above All, Flavell, 312)

“My Life,” 312. Kurt Tocholsky, Ausgewa(2 dots)hlte Briefe, 1913-1925, eds. Mary Gerold-Tucholsky and Fritz J. Raddatz (Frankfurt am Main: Rowohlt), 166. 14 Preface to Uber alles die Liebe, 1930, tr. by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 312.
12 13

12

But these types recognized themselves in the mirror of his art... He had at last shown their faces as they were. What writers and orators wrote and said he made visible, and it was not a pleasant sight... George Grosz is a satirist not a caricaturist... Lust, greed, hate, drink and sexual perversions are only the other side of 'normal' life. Periods of reaction, Lenin had said, are periods of pornography... Grosz painted society and its pillars naked and unadorned."  straightforwardness of the picture important. abstraction wouldn’t have been as good propaganda?  though, he saw it not so much as a "marching forward" but an attempt to stop society's backward slide into the chaos of WWII.  retrograde formal means. not the most innovative formally- political rather than formal avante-garde.  REALISM  REPRESENTATION  allegory as opposed to realism  “revealing the UNDERLYING truth rather than the superficiality of appearance… artists could legitimately go beyond an academic naturalism.” (294)  “Grosz is usually seen as the central figure in the Weimar debates about artistic realism.” (284)  "A picture could be made with some part impressionistic, and some part realistic, and some part abstract. No one has made much experiment in this direction. Here is something to be done."15  surrealism: "Paint not so much with the conscious; paint sometimes with the unconscious."16  "In fact it is almost everywhere if you can penetrate deeply enough beneath the husk of things. For, after all, nature is not simply the sum total of animate and inanimate objects. There is more to a tree or a rock or a sand dune than the mere outer appearance of reality." "The last century laid a great deal of emphasis on the outer world of reality but neglected the inner world." affinity to the Middle Ages "Now line, as I have pointed out, is an invention - a product of the brain and soul of man. It is perfectly logical and natural, then, that to the lines that we find in nature we should add other lines that are teh product of our inner vision. Such drawing can present both the outer husk and the inner essence. It is infinitely superiror to the machine that we call the camera. You cannot take a camera with you into your dream world." surrealism again." "You will note that, generally speaking, though I give free rein to my fancy, I have not neglected the outer shell of things. The utter rejection of reality is a perilous matter. Totally abstract fancy has a tendency to become stylized and conventional... Abstract facy that becomes pure convention is as much to be shunned by the artist as the slavish copying of nature. (paragraph break) The searcher after Fantasy should not avoid reality; he should know how to present the outer appearance of things together with inner content." this was written when Grosz had already abandoned political satire.17 Drinnen und Draussen  rounded teeth of the fat bourgeois men as opposed to the straight jagged teeth of homeless man 

15

Notes from George Grosz’s teaching, 1934 compiled by Jent Moor in 1934-1945, published in Flavell, 316. 16 Notes from George Grosz’s teaching, 317. 17 George Grosz, “On my Drawings,” introduction to George Grosz Drawings (New York: H. Bittner and Co., 1944).

13

  

Develop an angle or argument about the work concerning one of the many themes discussed in this class, such as utopia, decoration, primitivism, art and politics, autonomization etc. Offer a critical reading of the literature. George (used to be Georg) Grosz, Inside and Outside, 1926. Drinnen und Draussen. 1.5 inch margins NJ18 G88

Using George Grosz's Inside and Outside, I would like to examine: Does art's engagement with the politics of the real world involve an embrace of naturalism? Grosz was devoted to the "brutal reality," but one can hardly call his paintings completely realistic. What is the relationship between Grosz' devotion to realism and the techniques he used to convey his interpretation of industrial relations? talk more extensively about Marxism Art became the vehicle of his pessimistic world view, reflecting a ruined world that manifested itself most trenchantly in the big city and its excesses. (Grove) the Berlin Dada movement, which he joined in 1918 (see Dada, §4). In 1920, with Heartfield and Otto Dix, he took part in the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe. As well as developing the technique of Photomontage, (Grove)  adopted by the gallery of Alfred Flechtheim in 1925. However, his attitude towards the class struggle was thereby blunted. "In 1926, Grosz became a director of a Society for Politics, Science, and the Arts, known as the 1926 Club." INTRO The German war of 1914-18 permanently altered the course of Grosz’s career, from an innocuous artist cultivated in the academy into an active political agitator. In this war, Grosz saw rapacious nationalism and militaristic expansionism propel Germany into a deadly war, all with the enthusiastic support of average Germans. When Grosz witnessed the horrors of the war himself in a military hospital, he began to develop the devout moral purpose that lead him to become a critical artist charged with the mission of instructing the German people. During the chaotic interwar period of the Weimar Republic, high unemployment, the burden of reparation repayment, and hyperinflation left scores of Germans in a state of penury. Hitler gained power upon the premise of providing bread and work to the German people, all the while building up nationalistic sentiment, expanding the military, and repressing wages and workers’ organizations. Throughout this period, up until he fled Germany for America prior to WWII, Grosz engaged in revolutionary activities to champion the causes of the proletariat and challenge bellicose nationalism. He had joined the German Communist Party (KPD) in 1918, and became president over the first formal organization of KPD artists on 18 June 1924. This organization, called the “Red Group”, contributed newspapers, posters, placards, and leaflets to support the propaganda and election campaigns of the KPD. Grosz painted and drew to serve the needs of politics. He criticized ideas that the artist is somehow above the concerns of society or that works of art are somehow sacred or transcendent. All art is engaged in the current political concerns of the age. The production of art, like that of any other industrial trade, is determined by the material circumstances that surround it. Any art that claims to be neutral or unrelated automatically serves to maintain the status quo. Revolutionary art, which Grosz sought to create, engaged in the present-day conflicts of the working man or woman.

 

avante-garde not in formal means but politically. though, he saw it not so much as a "marching forward" but an attempt to stop society's backward slide into the chaos of WWII. ROLE OF ART  SUBORDINATION OF ART TO POLITICS  Grosz and Heartfield criticized the contemporary art world and the elevation of the artist to quasi-divine status. (Grove) “such art works were not treasures elevated above the struggle

but symptoms of the economic, political AND cultural dominance of the middle classes over the workers” (textbook, 291). art is not transcendent, not “neutral, disinterested or in any sense above society’s material conflicts.” (textbook, 293).  art is subordinate to politics, instead of being above politics  "The highest art is one that manifests in its consciousness the countless problems of the present day, that seems to have risen out of the explosions of the previous week, and that takes its form from immediate contact with the conflicts of the present."18  "In his polemical writings of the early 1920s, Grosz had frequently insisted on the utter irrelevance of issues of quality and distinctions between art and propaganda.  "feverish interrelatedness of everything"19 REJECTION OF EXPRESSIONISM  "Expressionist artists and writers have grouped together into a generation which is already looking longingly for literary and artistic esteem and honourable recognition from the bourgeoisie. Under the pretext of propagating spiritual values they have retreated, in their struggles against Naturalism, into a set of abstract and sentimental postures which are based on a life which is cozy but devoid of content and action."20  opposition to patriotic romanticism  a muckraker  "Down with the bloodless abstractions of Expressionism! Down with the utopian theories of literary twits!"21

UNCOVERING  Marxism. revealing the contradictions within society. surrealism and Freud.  art as some sort of penetrating vision  stripping naked social reality  social reality as opposed to visual reality  juxtapositions- revealing the inside  In his art he fought against preoccupations of Wilhelmine society by uncovering their shadowy aspects of crime, murder and erotic license. (Grove)  “revealing the UNDERLYING truth rather than the superficiality of appearance… artists could legitimately go beyond an academic naturalism.” (294)  “hoping to kill [the essential villainy] by bringing it into the open.” (Hess)  "a psychological use of x-ray transparency" (Hess) VISUAL CHAOS = SOCIAL/MORAL CHAOS  “contradictory grammars (massively receding perspective AND overlapping planes; stylization AND still legible figuration) produce a visual chaos clearly intended as an equivalent for the social and moral chaos of the modern city itself” (285). “tilting planes, the sharp diagonals, the abrupt changes of scale and the hurrying figures” “overlapping planes and dynamic ‘lines of force’” (textbook, 285) INSIDE VS OUTSIDE: CLASS DISTINCTIONS  the inside is larger, more colorful, with clearer details  the outside is smaller, the details are rougher, sketchier, less distinct, blurrier  almost a marginalization of the outside in this picture  you can only see the faces of what looks like a begging war cripple and a modestly dressed working class man  the bourgeois couple on the outside-their backs turned towards the viewer- they are walking away

18

George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 307. 19 George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 308. 20 George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 307. 21 George Grosz and Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Manifest,” translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 308.

15

Insid eis crowded, claustophobic, excess is stifling and strongly felt. outside is cold, forlorn. difference in heat. hot colors, cold colors. everything on the outside appears to be a haze. on the inside, an oppressive excess of detail.  the big bourgeois appears to be gazing outside while the outside folk can’t see inside.  outer appearences, inner meaning. the inside, the heart, the core of society, is corrupt and depraved.  WALL: "I felt oppositions in society, like bleeding, gaping wounds, and even after the war had finished I saw brutality and horror... I often felt like a wall, giving off a bloody, dehumanized echo of the surrounding world. A wall onto which this present age engraved some of its ghostly and grotesque faces."22 the working class man looks like and passes by like a ghost EXCESS  the strong complementaries of green and and on the inside. green leaves and green ribbon on red curtain background.  on the outside the bourgeois walking away. the guy has a few folds of fat that are constrained only by his belt. excess of consumption.  big bourgeois guy again- fat rolling out of his tuxedo collar.  ARTIFICIALITY  the eyes: glasses, monocle. the bourgeois are the gazers. artificiality? artificiality of sight, of light (from the lamp as opposed to the outside sun)  TABLE  the table is tilted towards us to show us everything on the table.. not a true prespective- looks like we’re looking down at the table from directly above it, when the rest of the scene suggests that we supposed to be looking at its side. shows us what he owns, whe he consumes. his commodities.  the blue pail of ice- blue emphasizing its coldness. on the other side of the table, the yellow lifght and exuding heat of the lamp, enhanced by the red lampshade. SEXUALITY  The sexual murder became a prominent motif, in which the combination of sexuality and violence was presented as a ritualization of the human quest for power, exemplified by political practice. (Grove). sexual exploitation and social exploitation. treating both women and workers as commodities. prostitution as allegory for the corruption of society (commodified sex).  the outside bourgeois man has sexual intentions. animated right arm. shrugged shoulders, as if telling a secret to the woman. something a little bit guilty about his body language. propositioning her? he’s holding her arm. what are they syaing? it’s hidden from us, it’s on the inside. ALLEGORY  He characterized the age in terms of the class society and invented specific figures who stood for the new classes and economic interests in German society. (Grove)  allegory as opposed to realism  "the 'type portrait,' the German officer, the official, the philistine, the judge, the blackmarketeer, the war cripple, the war doctor, the war priest...” (Hess) COMPARISON OF THE WALKER-BY AND CENTRAL BOURGEOIS  the modestly dressed (and modestly painted) working class man, about to walk by. head lowered. downcast expression. wrinkles and bags around the eyes. looking downward, eyes hardly opendon’t want to tface the harsh sad reality with all its attendent ugliness. single monochrome color. dull greyish/purplish. indistinct, unnoticable, unworthy of attention. a cigarette haning outta the mouth. compare to the central bourgeois figuer’s large cigar, huge eyes, large imposing face and features. colorufl. bright red cheeks. thick protruding lips. licentiousness, lewdness, and its synonyms, corruption and moral depravity. whereas the working class man’s nose is just a thin outline, the central bourgeois’ nose is much more 3-D- large, robust, protruding. colorful green/red ribbons drpaed across him. exaggerated 3-dimensionality whereas the working class man is basically a 2-dimensional figure with barely-visible outlines. colorful green and red 
George Grosz, “Notes for My Trial,” 3 December 1930, first published in Flavell, 314.

22

16

 

ribbons draped across him. bright white of his eyes. a strong, fat, obnoxious presence. the whole figure- strong shading as opposed to the working man’s monochrome. shading of suit goes the whole scale from black to white. COMPARISON OF HOMELESS GUY AND CENTRAL BOURGEOIS GUY  pudgy hand of the bourgeois guy compared to the bony, knarled hands of the homeless guy. the shriveled, shrunken face compared to the bourgeois’ bloated face. imbalance, just like the imbalance between the sides of the inside and outside (take measurements!!!!). wrinkles. wrinkly shirt as oopposed to the beourgious’ well-ironed suit. jagged edges of the sleev- worn down, old. MORE COMPARISONS  rounded teeth of the fat bourgeois men as opposed to the straight jagged teeth of homeless man STOICISM OF THE POOR  fur coat (or boa) of the bourgeois lady. it appears to be cold outside. the trees are barren and have no leaves. inhospitalbe outter environment. working lcass man with his buttonned coat and tightened fists. stolic and stoic instead of excessive. it’s uncertain how the working class man will respond to the homeless man. looks like he’s about to walk past him, though he might be holding money in his left fist, which he is extending out either defensively or generously. TENSION W/COMMUNIST PARTY  TRANSITION: it should be noted, however, that the homeless guy is not portrayed in the most flattering of terms, and the working class man does not look all too attuned or sympathetic to the cripple’s plight.  Grosz's growing pessimism about the masses. . awareness of the growth of fascism, and his belief that communism subscribed to an unrealistic psychology of mass behaviour (it couldn't be done). the masses were gradually being swung to the right. "hurra-bolshevism", no point in presenting a sentimental, idealized view of the proletariat.  response to complaints about his representation of workers :"I... do not consider it necessary to satisfy the demands of a 'Hurrah'-shouting Bolshevism which images the working man with his hair neatly combed and dressed up in archaic heroic costume... I absolutely reject the idea that one can only serve the cause of propaganda by proudcing a onesided, flattering and false idealization of life... The task of art is the help the worker understand his exploitation and his suffering, to compel him to acknowledge openly his wretchedness and enslavement, to awaken selfconsciousness in hima nd to inspire him to engage in class warfare."23 (Flavell, 312)  Kurt Tucholsky's letters in 1925. criticism of the quality of satire in Der Knuppel (u with two dots on top) Tucholsky asked "Why aren't you simply more naturalistic?... Because people instinctively realized that a contrived satire is complete nonsense."24  1925- criticism of Grosz's less-than-ideal portrayal of the proletariat at the Tenth Party Congress of the KPD in July 1925, the KPD leveled criticism at Der Knuppel. elitist and ineffective, more involved in producing art than political agitation "overintellectualization and failure to connect with the heroism of the class struggle"  use of satire was controversial, since satire had become a popular bourgeois thing  Grosz's growing status in the established German art world. Grosz coopted, or subsumed into the establishment, neutralized. REALISM  REPRESENTATION  representating something unvisual, like Kandinsky  german Expressionism: Grosz as an expressionist- his feelings about society come out onto the painting  Cubist “collage, Expressionist distortion, Futurist spatial dynamism” (textbook)  “Grosz is usually seen as the central figure in the Weimar debates about artistic realism.” (284)

23

George Grosz, “My Life,” first published in Prozektor 14 (Moscow, 1928), 153. Translated by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 312. 24 Kurt Tocholsky, Ausgewa(2 dots)hlte Briefe, 1913-1925, eds. Mary Gerold-Tucholsky and Fritz J. Raddatz (Frankfurt am Main: Rowohlt), 166.

17

"A picture could be made with some part impressionistic, and some part realistic, and some part abstract. No one has made much experiment in this direction. Here is something to be done."25 surrealism: "Paint not so much with the conscious; paint sometimes with the unconscious."26  "In fact it is almost everywhere if you can penetrate deeply enough beneath the husk of things. For, after all, nature is not simply thesum total of animate and inanimate objects. There is more to a tree or a rock or a sand dune than the mere outer appearance of reality." "The last century laid a great deal of emphasis on the outer world of reality but neglected the inner world." affinity to the Middle Ages "Now line, as I have pointed out, is an invention - a product of the brain and soul of man. It is perfectly logical and natural, then, that to the lines that we find in nature we should add other lines that are teh product of our inner vision. Such drawing can present both the outer husk and the inner essence. It is infinitely superiror to the machine that we call the camera. You cannot take a camera with you into your dream world." surrealism again." "You will note that, generally speaking, though I give free rein to my fancy, I have not neglected the outer shell of things. The utter rejection of reality is a perilous matter. Totally abstract fancy has a tendency to become stylized and conventional... Abstract facy that becomes pure convention is as much to be shunned by the artist as the slavish copying of nature. (paragraph break) The searcher after Fantasy should not avoid reality; he should know how to present the outer appearance of things together with inner content." this was written when Grosz had already abandoned political satire.27  retrograde formal means. not the most innovative formally- political rather than formal avante-garde.  finding middle point between modernism, political critique, and realism PESSIMISM  The war made Grosz into a misanthropist and a Utopian (Grove)  In 1918 he listed the qualities that he wished his art to possess: 'Hardness, brutality, clarity that hurts! There's enough soporific music.' (Grove)  cynicism, satire, caricature, “hedonistic and hostile”, rotten society, lurid  emotionless, unsentimental, distanced, alienated  grotesque, ugly, unattractive  "As a realist, I prefer to use my pen and brush primarily to put down what I see and observe; and this is generally unromantic, sober and far from idyllic. (paragraph break) Heaven knows why it's so, but when you look closely, people and objects can easily become inadeequate, ugly, and often meaningless or ambiguous... So when I put down my graphic signs; they are sober and without any mystery."28 (Love Above All, Flavell, 312)  But these types recognized themselves in the mirror of his art... He had at last shown their faces as they were. What writers and orators wrote and said he made visible, and it was not a pleasant sight... George Grosz is a satirist not a caricaturist... Lust, greed, hate, drink and sexual perversions are only the other side of 'normal' life. Periods of reaction, Lenin had said, are periods of pornography... Grosz painted society and its pillars naked and unadorned." CENSORSHIP DUE TO HIS DISGUSTING REALISM:  On 16 Gebruary 1924, Grosz stood trial once again, this time on charges of 'distributing obscene materials'" (106) Ecce Homo. "bourgeois figures with fleshy, misshapen bodies and scarred and blemished faces engage in a variety of explicit sexual acts. Thin and downtrodden workers, sailors, and war cripples, who appear in several of the images, occupy a peripheral role to the central thematic concern of bourgeois sexual indulgence." (McCloskey, 206) 

25 26

Notes from George Grosz’s teaching, 1934 compiled by Jent Moor in 1934-1945, published in Flavell, 316. Notes from George Grosz’s teaching, 1934 compiled by Jent Moor in 1934-1945, published in Flavell, 317. 27 George Grosz, “On my Drawings,” introduction to George Grosz Drawings (New York: H. Bittner and Co., 1944). 28 Preface to U(2 dots)ber alles die Liebe, 1930, tr. by Mary Kay Flavell, George Grosz, a Biography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 312.

18

the presiding judge "found Grosz's work too naturalistic in detail and lacking in the appropriate aesthetic distancing and artistic quality that would make such images acceptable for public distribution." (McCloskey, 107-108)  he ended up being fined 500 marks and his paintings were banned and confiscated BIBLIOGRAPHY  Realism, Rationalism, and Surrealism textbook, pages 41-42, 284-297, 314  George Grosz, M. Kay Flavell, 1988, Yale University Press, New Haven & London  Author:, Grosz, George, 1893-1959.; Title:, Drawings and watercolors by George Grosz : [catalogue of an exhibition held from] June 1-June 26, 1964 [at the] Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, California.; introduction by Hans Hess  Barbara McCloskey, George Grosz and the Communist Party (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997). stopped on top of p. 128 Misc bibliography mess  'Dadaistisches Manifest, (Dadist Manifesto), 1918 (with Richard Huelsenbeck et al.): Schneede, (2) pp. 20-2 (Schneede, DIE SWANZIGER JAHRE, pp. 20-2) tr. KF  hurrah-bolshevism stuff from here: My Life, 1928 Schneed, p. 153. First published in Prozektor 14, (Moscow, 1928), tr. KF.  Love Above All: preface to U(2 dots)ber alles die Liebe, 1930, tr. KF  from My Life. Notes for my Trial, 3 December 1930. Unpublished typescript in GAH, tr. KF. GAH = Grosz Archive, Houghton Library, Harvard University. letters and diaries.  Notes from George Grosz Teaching 1934. These notes, which reproduce Grosz's comments in class or notes on the back of student drawings, were compiled by Jent Moor in 1934-1945. Unpublished notes in GAH. 

Communist party was losing elections. KPD's number of depudies dropped form 62 to 45 in 1924. "If you're a Dadaist, you should be opposed to this manifesto!" (from a manifesto signed by him, Flavell, 308)  Out of opposition to the military scare campaign against Britain and intellectual affinity to the USA, he anglicized his name, which confirmed his anti-nationalist attitude. (Grove)

19

1.5 inch margins art as some sort of penetrating vision penetrating through superficial veils of reality stripping naked social realities social reality as opposed to visual reality Using George Grosz's Inside and Outside, I would like to examine: Does art's engagement with the politics of the real world involve an embrace of naturalism? Grosz was devoted to the "brutal reality," but one can hardly call his paintings completely realistic. What is the relationship between Grosz' devotion to realism and the techniques he used to convey his interpretation of industrial relations? art as some sort of penetrating vision stripping naked social reality social reality as opposed to visual reality (representating something unvisual, like Kandinsky) juxtapositions- revealing the inside german Expressionism representation and realism

 

NJ18 G88 Develop an angle or argument about the work concerning one of the many themes discussed in this class, such as utopia, decoration, primitivism, art and politics, autonomization etc. Offer a critical reading of the literature. George (used to be Georg) Grosz, Inside and Outside, 1926. Drinnen und Draussen.


  

 


  

http://www.groveart.com/shared/views/article.html?from=search&session_search_id=1005689685&session_name=f851a954ec9 9e2c0&hitnum=47&section=art.035094&start=26&query=%22George%20Grosz%22&search_subview=search_subject The war made Grosz into a misanthropist and a Utopian In his art he fought against preoccupations of Wilhelmine society by uncovering their shadowy aspects of crime, murder and erotic licence. The sexual murder became a prominent motif, in which the combination of sexuality and violence was presented as a ritualization of the human quest for power, exemplified by political practice. Art became the vehicle of his pessimistic world view, reflecting a ruined world that manifested itself most trenchantly in the big city and its excesses. Out of opposition to the military scare campaign against Britain and intellectual affinity to the USA, he anglicized his name, which confirmed his anti-nationalist attitude. By giving his art a strong moral purpose, he intended to become the German Hogarth. In 1918 he listed the qualities that he wished his art to possess: 'Hardness, brutality, clarity that hurts! There's enough soporific music.' In the same year he joined the German Communist Party. influence of the Italian Futurists 'That this epoch is heading downhill towards destruction is my unshakable conviction' the Berlin Dada movement, which he joined in 1918 (see Dada, §4). In 1920, with Heartfield and Otto Dix, he took part in the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe. As well as developing the technique of Photomontage, Grosz and Heartfield criticized the contemporary art world and the elevation of the artist to quasi-divine status. one of Germany's most significant critical artists He characterized the age in terms of the class society and invented specific figures who stood for the new classes and economic interests in German society. adopted by the gallery of Alfred Flechtheim in 1925. However, his attitude towards the class struggle was thereby blunted.

21

       

Realism, Rationalism, and Surrealism textbook, pages 41-42, 284-297, 314 “collage, Expressionist distortion, Futurist spatial dynamism” contradiction: synthesizing Futurism and the past realism and expressionism “Grosz is usually seen as the central figure in the Weimar debates about artistic realism.” (284) cynicism, satire, caricature, “hedonistic and hostile”, rotten society, lurid emotionless, unsentimental, distanced, alienated “contradictory grammers (massively receding perspective AND overlapping planes; stylization AND still legible figuration) proudce a visual chaos clearly intended as an equivalent for the social and moral chaos of the modern city itself” (285). “tilting planes, the sharp diagonals, the abrupt changes of scale and the hurrying figures” “overlapping planes and dynamic ‘lines of force’” (285) “far from realism in any merely naturalistic sense… their meanings are allegorical” (290). prostitution as allegory for the corruption of society (commodified sex). “revealing the UNDERLYING truth rather than the superificality of appearance… artists could legitmately go beyond an academic naturalism.” (294) “such art works were not treasures elevated above the struggle but symptoms of the economic, political AND cultural dominance of the middle classes over the workers” (291). art is not transcendent, not “neutral, disinterested or in any sense above society’s material conflicts.” (293).

22

Twist: does art's engagement in the real world (politics) involve an embrace of naturalism (illusionism)? How far away from reality/illusionism does he get in building a Utopian vision? How Utopian was he? Some authors call him so, but he begins to move away. Thinks Communism is too idealistic. Brutal reality. But one could hardly call his drawings realistic. Role of allegory? a muckraker George Grosz, M. Kay Flavell, 1988, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, starting @ p. 54 Grosz's growing pessimism about the masses. . awareness of the growth of fascism, and his belief that communism subscribed to an unrealistic psychology of mass behaviour (it couldn't be done). the masses were gradually being swung to the right. "hurrabolshevism", no point in presenting a sentimental, idealized view of the proletariat. manisfesto signed by him: "The highest art is one that manifests in its consciousness the countless problems of the present day, that seems to have risen out of the explosions of the previous week, and that takes its form from immediate contact with the conflicts of the present." (307) "Expressionist artists and writers have grouped together into a generation which is already looking longingly for literary and artistic esteem and honourable recognition from the bourgeoisie. Under the pretext of propagating spiritual values they ahve retreated, in their struggles against Naturalism, into a set of abstract and sentimental postures which are based on a life which is cosy but devoid of conent and action." (307) "feverish interrelatedness of everything" (308) "Down with the bloodless abstractions of Expressionism! Down with the utopian theories of literary twits!" (308) "If you're a Dadaist, you should be opposed to this manifesto!" (308) art is subordinate to politics, instead of being above politics opposition to patriotic romanticism complaints about his representation of workers (p312) "I... do not consider it necessary to satisfy the demands of a 'Hurrah'-shouting Bolshevism which images the working man with his hair neatly combed and dressed up in archaic heroic costume... I absolutely reject the idea that one can only serve the cause of propaganda by proudcing a onesided, flattering and false idealization of life... The task of art is the help the worker understand his exploitation and his suffering, to compel him to acknowledge openly his wretchedness and enslavement, to awaken self-consciousness in hima nd to inspire him to engage in class warfare." Love Above All (312) "As a realist, I prefer to use my pen and bursh primarily to put down what I see and observe; and this is generally unromantic, sober and far from idyllic. Heaven knowls why it's so, but when you look closely, people and objects can easily become inadeequate, ugly, and often meaningless or ambiguous... So when I put down my graphic signs; they are sober and without any mystery." start reading again on page 313!! Thursday starting at 4pm

23

Author:,

Grosz, George, 1893-1959.

Title:, Drawings and watercolors by George Grosz : [catalogue of an exhibition held from] June 1-June 26, 1964 [at the] Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, California. introduction by Hans Hess "The German war of 1914-18 prevented George Grosz from becoming a painter of fake history." "the 'type portrait,' the German officer, the official, the philistine, the judge, the blackmarketeer, the war cripple, the war doctor, teh war priest... he had a passion for justice, which means he hated judges...... hoping to kill [the essential villainy] by bringing it into the open. But these types recognized themselves in the mirror of his art... He had at last shown their faces as they were. What wirters and orators wrote and said he made visible, and it was not a pleasant sight... George Grosz is a satirist not a caricaturist... Lust, greed, hate, drink and sexual perversions are only the other side of 'normal' life. Periods of reaction, Lenin had siad, are preiods of pornography... Grosz painted society and its pillars naked and unadorned." Grosz as an expressionist- his feelings about society come out onto the painting "a psychological use of x-ray transparency"

24

George Grosz and the Communist Party Barbara McCloskey Pinceton University Press Princeton, New Jersey 1997 On 16 Gebruary 1924, Grosz stood trial once again, this time on charages of 'distributing obscene materials'" (106) Ecce Homo. "bourgeiois figures with fleshy, mishapen bodies and scarred and blemished faces engage in a vireity of explicit sexual acts. Thin and downtrodden workers, sailors, an dwar cripples, who appear in several of the images, occupy a peripheral role to the central thematic concern of bourgeois sexual indulgence." (206) the presiding judge "found Grosz's work too naturalistic in detail and lacking int he appropirate aesthetic distancing and artistic quality that would make such images acceptable for public distribution." (107-108) he ended up being fined 500 marks and his paintings were baned and confiscated Grosz became president over the first formal organization of KpD artists on 18 June 1924. The Red Group. contributed to newspapers, posters, placards, leaflets Communist party was losing elections. KPD's number of depudies dropped form 62 to 45 in 1924. "In his polemical wiritings of the early 1920s, Grosz had frequently insited on the utter irrelevance of issues of quality and distinctions between art and propaganda. Kurt Tucholsky's letters in 1925. criticism of the quality of satire in Der Knuppel (u with two dots on top) Tucholsky asked "Why aren't you simply more naturalistic?... Because people instinctively realized that a contrived satire is complete nonsense." Kurt Tocholsky, Ausgewa(2 dots)hlte Briefe, 1913-1925, eds. Mary Gerold-Tucholsky and Fritz J. Raddatz (Frankfurt am Main: Rowohlt), 166. 1925- criticsm of Grosz's less-than-ideal portrayal of the proletariat at the Tenth Party Congress of the KPD in July 1925, the KPD leveled criticism at Der Knuppel. elitist and ineffective, more involved in producing art than political agitation "overintellectualization and failure to connect with the heroism of the class struggle" use of satire was controversial, since satire had become a popular bourgeiois thing Grosz's growing status in the established German art world. Grosz coopted, or subsumed into the establishment, neutralized. "In 1926, Grosz became a director of a Society for Politics, Science, and the Arts, known as the 1926 Club." stopped on top of p. 128

25

me, looking at the painting the inside is larger, more colorful, with clearer details the outside is smaller, the details are rougher, sketchier, less distinct, blurrier almost a marginalization of the outside in this picture the bourgeois couple on the outside-their bakcs turned twoards the viewere- they are walking away you can only see the faces of what looks like a begging war cirpple and a mdodestly dressed (and mdestly-painted!) working class man the modestly painted working class man, about to walk by. head lowered. downcast expression. wrinkles nad bags around the eyes. looking downward, eyes hardly open- don’t want to tface the harsh sad reality with all its attendent ugliness. single monochrome color. dull greyish/purplish. indistinct, unnoticable, unworthy of attention. a cigarette haning outta the mouth. compare to the central bourgeois figuer’s large cigar, huge eyes, large imposing face and features. colorufl. bright red cheeks. thick protruding lips. licentiousness, lewdness, and its synonyms, corruption and moral depravity. whereas the working class man’s nose is just a thin outline, the central bourgeois’ nose is much more 3-D- large, robust, protruding. colorful green/red ribbons drpaed across him. exaggerated 3-dimensionality whereas the working class man is basically a 2-dimensional figure with barely-visible outlines. colorful green and red ribbons draped across him. bright white of his eyes. a strong, fat, obnoxious presence. the whole figure- strong shading as opposed to the working man’s monochrome. shading of suit goes the whole scale from black to white. the strong complementaries of green and ared on the inside. green leaves and green ribbon on red curtain background. the eyes: glasses, monocle. the bourgeois are the gazers. artificiality? artificiality of sight, of light (from the lamp as opposed to the outside sun) excess. grotesque, ugly, unattractive the blue pail of ice- blue emphasizing its coldness. on the other side of the table, the yellow lifght and exuding heat of the lamp, enhanced by the red lampshade. Insid eis crowded, claustophobic, excess is stifling and strongly felt. outside is cold, forlorn. difference in heat. hot colors, cold colors. everything on the outside appears to be a haze. on the inside, an oppressive excess of detail. pudgy hand of the bourgeois guy compared to the bony, knarled hands of the homeless guy. the shriveled, shrunken face compared to the bourgeois’ bloated face. imbalance, just like the imbalance between the sides of the inside and outside (take measurements!!!!). wrinkles. wrinkly shirt as oopposed to the beourgious’ well-ironed suit. jagged edges of the sleev- worn down, old. on the outside the bourgeois walking away. the guy has a few folds of fat that are constrained only by his belt. excess of consumption. fur coat (or boa) of the bourgeois lady. it appears to be cold outside. the trees are barren and have no leaves. inhospitalbe outter environment. working lcass man with his buttonned coat and tightened fists. stunch and toci instead of excessive. it’s uncertain how the working class man will respond to the homeless man. looks like he’s about to walk past him, though he might be holding money in his left fist, which he is extending out either defensively or generously. the outside bourgeois man has sexual intentions. animated right arm. shrugged shoulders, as if telling a secret to the woman. something a little bit guilty about his body language. propositioning her? he’s holding her arm. what are they syaing? it’s hidden from us, it’s on the inside. big bourgeois guy again- fat rolling out of his tuxedo collar. the table is tilted towards us to show us everything on the table.. not a true prespective- looks like we’re looking down at the table from directly above it, when the rest of the scene suggests that we supposed to be looking at its side. shows us what he owns, whe he consumes. his commodities. the big bourgeois appears to be gazing outside while the outside folk can’t see inside. rounded teeth of the fat bourgeous men as opposed to the straight jaggeg teeth of homelessman

26

27