Ralph Jentsch has confirmed the authenticity of this watercolor.
As Grosz's hopes for a Marxist revolutionary reordering of German society began to fade in the mid-1920s, the artist increasingly assumed the role as moralist to the bourgeoisie of the Weimar Republic. The middle class, who actually relished having their foibles skewered in Grosz's drawings and prints, had now become a substantial part of the Grosz's audience, and helped make him one of Germany's leading and most successful artists. At the same time, the influence of the exaggerated realist manner promulgated by the emerging Neue Sachlichkeit ("New Objectivity") painters led Grosz to move away from his flatly linear Dadaist style toward a manner that relied more heavily on observed detail and a more conventional use of modeling and space. Grosz eschewed modernist influences from Paris, and like many other German artists during this period, looked to the great antecedents of northern European painting, such as Bosch, Brueghel and Altdorfer.
The present watercolor shows the familiar upper class figures representative of Germany's selective and fragile prosperity: the buxom well-to-do lady clad in furs walking with her impeccably attired husband, accompanied by their precious little lapdog. However, the impoverished working class as Grosz usually depicted it is absent here. Instead of a wounded war veteran or unemployed worker, a gaunt and under-nourished elderly gentlemen, dressed in a dirty and threadbare suit, has been reduced to begging, with autumn leaves swirling about his feet (for a closely related work, see lot 142). The artist's ,message is that the wheel of fortune turns as the seasons turn, and that no one, regardless of their social position, is immune to life's mutability. Grosz no doubt had in mind the wider fate of the German economy, and in this respect this work was prescient, because in the following year the crash of the stock markets plunged the world into a severe economic depression and widespread social unrest.