Oil on Canvas 1926
Grosz was an amazing painter, illustrator, and caricaturist
who combined his artistic talents with an uncompromising
radicalism. Grosz detested the bourgeoisie of Germany,
and continually attacked and mocked them with his
caustic pen drawings.
With exacting skill Grosz documented 1920's Germany
and the rise of fascism, until he was forced into
exile by the Hitler regime.
painting at left, Stutzen der Gesellschaft
(Pillars of Society), is a deeply sarcastic portrait
of the German elites who
front and center is a Nazi holding a beer mug and
a sword, behind this figure sit two members of the
bourgeoisie, one holding a blood stained palm leaf
and the other's head opened to expose a steaming pile
of excrement. A pompous pro-Nazi priest stands in
the background, blessing the murderous actions of
the army. By
the time Grosz had painted this work in 1926, he had
already created many vitriolic denunciations of the
had participated in the early Dada movement, founded
with John Heartfield the
satirical magazine Die Pleite (Gone Bust), contributed
illustrations to numerous left-wing publications,
and like many other artists, joined the just formed
German Communist Party (KDP).
was on a trip to the United States when the Nazis
came to power in 1933. The artist received word that
the fascists had come looking for him at his apartment
and at his studio. Grosz would not return to Germany
until 1954. He died in Berlin in 1959.
1921, Grosz offered this advice to artists; "Come
out of your rooms, even if you find it an effort,
pull down your individual barriers, let yourselves
be caught up by the ideas of working people and help
them in the struggle against a corrupt society."