• Impressionist Modern Works on  auction at Christies

    Sale 2218

    Impressionist Modern Works on Paper

    4 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 126

    George Grosz (1883-1959)

    Republikanischer Bahnhof

    Price Realised  

    George Grosz (1883-1959)
    Republikanischer Bahnhof
    signed 'Grosz' (lower right) and signed with pseudonym and dated 'Böff 19' (lower left)
    pen and India ink over pencil on paper
    Image size: 17 7/8 x 13¾ in. (45.4 x 35 cm.)
    Sheet size: 22 1/8 x 15 1/8 in. (56.2 x 38.4 cm.)
    Drawn in 1919


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    Ralph Jentsch has confirmed the authenticity of this drawing.

    The year following the defeat of Germany in World War I was rife with political turmoil as left- and right-wing parties contended to fill the power void left by the departure of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The moderate Social Democratic Party held sway and formed a provisional government in November 1918.

    The Berlin Dada movement flourished in this pandemonium. Published by Wieland Herzefelde's Malik Verlag, Grosz's satiric drawings had been appearing since 1917, and effectively capture the events of the period. The present work is fully characteristic of Grosz's Hogarth-like political wit, set in a cubo-futurist pictorial style. As the outgoing cabinet of ministers departs, another enters, but it is clear that no real change has occurred, as the military looks on. In this drawing Grosz uses his familiar elevated point-of-view, creating a deep stage for his political narrative. The drawing was first signed "Böff," an alias which Grosz adopted for a short period. As a Communist and revolutionary sympathizer, Grosz was often on the run from the authorities; in 1919 he and his publisher were tried and fined for criticizing the state.

    Provenance

    Erich Cohn, New York.
    Peter Deitsch, New York.
    Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 13 May 1998, lot 104.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Exhibited

    Berlin, Akademie der Künste and Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall, George Grosz, January-March 1963, p. 104, no. 188 (illustrated, p. 58).
    York, City Art Gallery; London, Arts Council Gallery and Bristol, City Art Gallery, George Grosz, April-July 1963, p. 22, no. 95.