GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)
GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)
GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)
GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR JEROME AND MRS ELIZABETH LEVY
GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)

Broadway (recto); Havana cigars (verso)

GEORGE GROSZ (1893-1959)
Broadway (recto); Havana cigars (verso)
signed and dated 'GROSZ 36' (recto, lower right)
oil, gouache, watercolour, reed pen and pen and ink on paper (recto); reed pen and pen and ink on paper (verso)
19 3/4 x 15 3/8 in. (50.2 x 39.1 cm.)
Executed in 1936
Acquired directly from the artist in 1959; sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 24 May 1990, lot 229.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owners.
Exh. cat., George Grosz: Berlin - New York, Rome, 2007, no. 289, p. 203 (illustrated).
Kamakura, The Museum of Modern Art, Georges Grosz, Berlin - New York, April - September 2000, no. II-97, p. 186 (illustrated p. 124); this exhibition later travelled to Itami, City Museum of Art, June - July 2000; and Tochigi, Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, August - September 2000.
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
Ralph Jentsch has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

Capturing the vivid colour and frenzied energy of New York, Broadway is an ode to the stimulating freedom George Grosz found in America. Executed in 1936, just a few years after the artist’s decisive departure from Germany, the present work testifies to the relentless pace of the city that never sleeps— Grosz’s inexhaustible muse— with her soaring skyscrapers and bold, bright lights that seemed to turn the night into day.

Indeed, the city represented a sort of dreamland for the artist, not only as an escape from the political turmoil of his native Berlin, but as a thriving metropolis where the pursuit of the American dream appeared alive and well. Nowhere was this perhaps more evident than in Broadway itself, where dreams— in full theatrical splendour— came true, and the motley cast of characters one saw on stage were echoed, in all their multifaceted intensity, by the diversity of the people on the streets.

Thus, in the present lot, against a whirling backdrop of high rise buildings and flashing advertisements, elegant society mixes with the demimonde— as tough guys, gangsters and seedy wheeler-dealers surround the moneyed and well-to-do. Unrivalled in his skill with a reed pen and ink, Grosz first boldly delineates his figures then sumptuously illuminates them with a saturated palette of warm reds, oranges and yellows, sharply contrasted by rich blues and greens, which combine to create a roaring, polychromatic vision that speaks of the all-consuming energy of the city.

Testament to Grosz’s artistic ingenuity and his relishing in the contrast between smart and sordid, the verso of the present lot draws the viewer into a heady Havana cigar shop, where behatted shopkeepers assemble their stock. A true snapshot in time, this quotidian scene is rendered in just a few strokes of ink, showcasing the artist’s unmatched skill in harnessing the power of line and form.

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