Antonio Seguí’s Politically-Charged Prints Come to Paris
Framed: 26.75in x 30.75in x 0in
We wish to thank Ralph Jentsch for his gracious assistance in cataloguing this watercolor, which will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works on paper by George Grosz. A photo-certificate accompanies this lot.
According to the art historian Ralph Jentsch, This watercolor was among 12 watercolors and 12 drawings, as well as 22 lithographs, [that] Grosz sent on October 18, 1924, to the Paris Galerie Joseph Billiet for his first exhibition in France. Billiet did not list all the works Grosz had sent him in his catalogue; however, they most likely were on view to visitors of the gallery during the exhibition. On the invitation card for the opening of the show, Billiet proudly announced that this exhibition would be the first one of the artist in France. Grosz ranked in France at the time as one of the most famous and well-known German artists. Marcel Ray, a journalist and professor in Paris, [had] published already in 1920 in the prestigious art magazine 'Cahiers d'aujourd'hui' a long article about Grosz . . . [and the] 1924 'Valore Plastici' published monograph on Grosz, with a text by Italo Tavolato, had editions in Italian, English and French. Grosz himself spent in 1924 a couple of months in Paris before the opening of his exhibition at the Billiet, meeting artists, writers and other French intellectuals. Grosz regularly visited restaurants, bars and cafés in Berlin, as these places belonged to his preferred hunting grounds, as this watercolor proves. The Berlin coffee houses were popular meeting [places] and were occupied literally from morning to night by individuals and groups. For Grosz, however, being a keen observer, nothing escaped his obsessive eye, and he mercilessly captured everything he . . . witnessed like the two main characters in this very work, a couple that has nothing more to say to each other, or some lonely hearts seeking company. Grosz started the work with watercolor, working wet into wet, then carefully used the fine lines of pen and ink in order to outline faces, figures and objects in the composition...
Signature: Signed and dated lower right: Grosz / 1922
Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Galerie Joseph Billiet & Cie, Paris, "Ire Exposition en France des Oeuvres de George Grosz," November 14-December 3, 1924.
Studio of the artist, Berlin, 1922; Capt. Walter I. Farmer, Wiesbaden, Germany; Kenneth Lindsay, Binghamton, New York, gift from the above, circa 1947; By descent to the present owner.
Draftsman and painter George Grosz is known for his caustic pen-and-ink caricatures of Weimar Germany. Influenced by Expressionism and Futurism in his early career, he was also strongly affected by his wartime experience and joined Berlin's Dada movement in 1918 as a stance of political commitment; he is also associated with the New Objectivity movement (Neue Sachlichkeit). After leaving Germany prior to Hitler's assumption of power, Grosz turned to romanticized nudes, New York cityscapes, and watercolor landscapes in a departure from his earlier social engagement.
German, 1893-1959, Berlin, Germany, based in Berlin, Germany