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George Grosz (1893-1959)
George Grosz (1893-1959)

New York Harbor

George Grosz (1893-1959)
New York Harbor
signed 'Grosz' (lower left); signed again 'George Grosz' (on the reverse)
oil on board
31 x 23 3/8 in. (78.6 x 59.2 cm.)
Painted in 1936
Nathan M. Ohrbach, New York (by 1947); sale, Christie's, New York, 20 March 1987, lot 241.
Private collection, New York (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, New York, 2 December 1988, lot 340A.
Private collection, New Orleans (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, New York, 6 November 2013, lot 377.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J. Dos Passos, U.S.A., New York, 1966 (illustrated in color on the cover).
Museum of the City of New York, The Nathan M. Ohrbach Collection: A Collection of Paintings Depicting New York, Wonder City of the World, 1947.

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Lot Essay

Ralph Jentsch has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

With the ascent of Hitler and his assumption of the chancellorship in 1933, Grosz left his native Berlin and moved to New York with his wife Eva. He arrived safely in late January, by March the exiled artist was stripped of his German citizenship, in May his books and portfolios were among those burned publicly, and July saw some of his assets stripped and the closure of his dealer Alfred Flechtheim's gallery.
Against such an ominous political backdrop, Grosz embraced America, teaching at the Art Students League, taking on significant commissions for illustration from Vanity Fair and other prominent magazines, and, as in the present work, painting the bustle of New York and the sleepier environs of Cape Cod. The teeming New York Harbor, the entryway into his adopted home, captures both the sense of adventure which captivated the artist on arrival and its vigorous welcome: "Grosz's time in America stimulated him, kept him alive, and helped keep his life on track. He cared deeply about the work he was doing while he was doing it" (J.M. Judin, ed., George Grosz, The Years in America, 1933-1958, exh. cat., Nolan Judin, Berlin, 2009, p. 23).

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