In Berlin Street, Grosz depicts several menacing denizens of Berlin against the backdrop of the modern metropolis, a hellish place animated by greed, cruelty, and ghoulish lust. A beggar, one of the two million crippled World War I veterans who roamed the streets of Berlin, sits on the lower left and holds up his hat to a woman, whose garish attire and crude make-up suggest that she is most likely a prostitute. The palette of grays, browns, and blacks further emphasizes the grit and grime of city life. Distorted, soulless automatons, the figures appear as slaves to capitalistic decadence.
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Artist:George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:32 in. × 23 5/8 in. (81.3 × 60 cm)
Credit Line:Hugo Kastor Fund, 1963
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): GROSZ/ 31; dated (verso): 1930
the artist, Berlin and Huntington, N.Y. (1931–d. 1959; his estate, 1959–63; on consignment in 1963 to the Forum Gallery, New York; sold by Forum Gallery to MMA)
New York. Forum Gallery. "George Grosz, 1893–1959," September 24–October 12, 1963, no. 59 (dated 1930; lent by the Estate of George Grosz).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.
Norwich, Conn. Slater Memorial Museum. "A Survey of American Art," February 4–25, 1968, no. 26.
Palazzo Reale, Milan. "George Grosz: Gli anni de Berlino," May 30–July 28, 1985, no. 23.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "The 1920s: Age of the Metropolis," June 20–November 10, 1991, no. 204 (as "Berlin Street Scene").
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "George Grosz: Berlin—New York," December 21, 1994–April 17, 1995, no. IX.52.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "German Drawings and Prints from the Weimar Republic (1919–33)," July 2–October 31, 2004, no catalogue.
New York. Neue Galerie. "Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933," October 1, 2015–January 4, 2016, no. 6.
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. "Splendor and Misery in the Weimar Republic," October 27, 2017–February 25, 2018, unnumbered cat. (p. 88).
Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 117–18, ill., dates it about 1931.
Serge Sabarsky. George Grosz: The Berlin Years. New York, 1985, colorpl. 23.
Roland März inGeorge Grosz: Berlin—New York. Ed. Peter-Klaus Schuster. Exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie. Berlin, 1994, pp. 367–68, no. IX.52, ill. (color).
Ralph Jentsch. George Grosz: The Berlin Years. Exh. cat., Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Milan, 1997, p. 163, no. 360, ill. (color), dates it 1930–31.
Olaf Peters inSplendor and Misery in the Weimar Republic. Ed. Ingrid Pfeiffer. Exh. cat., Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. Frankfurt, 2017, pp. 86, 292, ill. p. 88 (color).
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George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)
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