Archive for October 14, 2012

Artist of the moment……George Grosz

This artist was part of the Dadist movement and he was known for portraying the social life that existed in Berlin,Germany.

The Galway Musuem had a show on the artist earlier this year. Here a deputee director of the musuem talks about the show. You can get a feeling for his frustration and dislike of Nazi Germany by his works shown here.

More works of the artist set to music.

Grosz was born in 1893 in city of  Berlin,  Germany. He was a member of the DADA and New Object art circles. His father was the owner of bar. The family was devoted to the Lutheran religion.

The artist was given instruction at a young age by a well known regional artist named Grot. He made many studies of people drinking and fighting.  For his collegiate education the artist studied at the Berlin School of Arts and Crafts and the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1914, Grosz volunteered for the military. In 1915 he was discharged from the army for medical reasons. During this time a huge push for German nationalism was taking place. Grosz and another artist friend changed the way they spelt their first names, the Grosz went from Georg to George. He and his friend had fallen in love with the idea of America.

In a pattern that was repeated many times during the Grosz’s lifetime, he was punished and or sometimes fined for not respecting the dictatorships that existed. Grosz even lived in Russia for a shot time and med Lenin and Trotsky.

Grosz didn’t like the Nazi way of thinking at all and left the country just months before Adolph Hitler rose to power.  In 1932, Grosz was given an invite to teach in New York at the Art Students League during the summer session. He returned home in October with the idea of moving to America for good. Grosz and his family moved to New York in 1933.  Grosz became a naturalized citizen in 1938. The artist ended up teaching at the Art Students League of New York from 1933 until 1955.

After moving to the U.S. and seeing the many different styles of art, Grosz wanted to alter his style. He established a school in house and even published an autobiography.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

For a residence Grosz lived in Bayside, New York for most of his life in America.

The artist died on a visit to Berlin. He went out drinking, fell down a flight of stairs, and died from complications from this accident at the age of 65 in 1959.

One great genre I enjoy looking at, paintings and drawings of society gatherings and events. By this I mean an image that captures the feeling of society and what it looks like. Some great artists that did this would be Daumier. Back in the time when a writer did really have a sword,as means of communication and gathering of knowledge was limited. An artist could heavily sway a non educated voter just by an image.

Other artists who were masters of this genre would be David Levine. A well known artist of urban scenes and caricatures of celebs and politicians done in pen and ink. Below is a wonderful example of David Levine’s work, Woody Allen in his signature pen and ink style.

Not related but also great at this genre was Jack Levine. Jack painted politicians and mobsters as well as works dealing with satire of the middle class. The painting below was done when Newt Gingrich ruled Washington and is a great example of Jack Levine’s style.

Grosz was a great example of mixing political themes and society views  with his art.Very expressionistic in that regard. Artists who might paint this way to express political ideas might be the Chinese. I say that because the Communist Party has only 1.3 million members, but the country as a whole is over 1.3 billion people. So many people don’t have a voice, hopefully it can be expressed thru art.  He also loved to paint the female figure. When looking at the voluptuous ladies he portrayed on canvas I get the feeling of looking at a modern day Peter Paul Reubens.

Price ranges:  Lithographs for a couple hundred dollars. Works done with ink fall between $5,000 and $216, 000. Watercolors go from mid forty thousand dollars to three thousand.