Ralph Jentsch has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
With his characteristic humor and wit, Grosz depicts in Der Kunsthändler a rich bourgeois couple speaking to an art dealer. A large Cubist painting, framed with the utmost care, is shown on the wall behind the dapper salesman. The couple’s attire indicates that money is no object for them. The female scrunches her face in reluctance; she is not falling for the dealer’s charms as he tries to assure the couple that their money will be well invested.
The present work was executed in 1928, a time when unemployment in Germany was at a peak and the economy was in a severe recession. Grosz confessed in a letter to his friend a few years later, “…as a painter today, even if you calculate the lucky selling-streaks, one still only barely escapes poverty, eventually you are going mad here because of all the bloody fear, the times are infinitely dismal. Right now I’m not doing so well, no one buys art anymore and the outlook for the future is truly quite bleak. What is high profile, what is fame? With that alone you can’t buy anything.” The present work can therefore be read as not only a form of social commentary, but also a deeply personal statement about the art market, and his own place within it.