George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)
Oil on canvas
32 x 23 5/8 in. (81.3 x 60 cm)
Hugo Kastor Fund, 1963
Not on view
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.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): GROSZ/ 31; dated (verso): 1930
the artist (1931–d. 1959; his estate, New York, 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.
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.