German-born US expressionist painter and graphic artist. He was a founder of the Berlin Dada group in 1918, and excelled in savage satirical drawings criticizing the government and the military establishment. After numerous prosecutions, he fled his native Berlin in 1932 and went to the USA.
His brilliant drawings make him a leader in the school of German expressionism, but from 1933 he and his work disappeared into oblivion so far as the majority of Germans were concerned, since his paintings were among those condemned in the Nazi dictator Hitler's exhibition ‘Entartete Kunst’ (Degenerate Art). Even in the late 1920s, long before Hitler had come to power, Grosz's Ecce Homo, showing Christ on the Cross wearing a gas mask and army boots, brought him to court on a charge of blasphemy. He is also associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity) movement.
Grosz studied in Dresden and was deeply affected by the spirit of revolt among German artists after the World War I. With ruthless and acid cynicism, he satirized militarism, capitalism, the complacent middle classes, and the reactionary powers represented by the generals, the big industrialists, and the church. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1938, but his work in the USA, which was often more traditional in subject matter and style, had little of his former power. Increasingly depressed by his failure to be recognized as a serious painter, he returned to Berlin 1959, dying just a few months later.
His autobiography A Little Yes and a Big No appeared in 1946.
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