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George Grosz- Alfred Flechtheim
Art dealer of the Avantgarde

George Grosz

26.07.1893 Berlin - 06.07.1959 Westberlin
Alfred Flechtheim and George Grosz

George Grosz was a draughtsman, painter and caricaturist. Initially influenced by Futurism and Dadaismus, the artist was later influenced by the graphic style of New Objectivity. From 1909–11 Grosz studied under Richard Müller at the Königliche Kunstakademie in Dresden. From 1912–17, with interruptions, he was taught by Emil Orlik at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. In 1913 Grosz attended the Académie Colarossi in Paris. He was traumatised by World War I. His pictures became a mirror of a deeply pessimistic world view. He caricatured the Wilhelminian authoritarian state, the barbarisation of society in the capital, sexually motivated violence and the ignominious existence of those wounded in the war, with acrid derision. Charges of insulting the Reichswehr, the propagation of obscene writings and blasphemy were brought against the artist for his unsparing series of graphic works. The accusatory tone in Grosz’ painting only slowly started to abate in his late works.

Grosz was initially represented by the Munich gallery owner Hans Goltz from 1918–22. After illustrations by Grosz had been published in ‘Der Querschnitt’ in 1922, Alfred Flechtheim included the artist in his gallery agenda from 1923. In 1925 Grosz designed four lithographs for the gallery’s publishing house: ‚Verlobung unterm Weihnachtsbaum’, ‚Grotesker Tanz’, ‚Zigeunermusik’ and ‚Friedrichstraße’. For a time, Grosz was represented exclusively by Flechtheim. That meant that Flechtheim supported Grosz financially and received works of art in lieu. A friendly relationship developed and numerous comments made by Grosz about Flechtheim have survived in which he talks about and characterised the art dealer and his environment. Grosz spread the rumour that Flechtheim spent his wife’s dowry – 140,000 Marks – on pictures. The art dealer’s flat in Berlin was, according to Grosz, always a place of traditional hospitality typical of someone from the Rhineland region. In 1932 he credited ‘Alf’ as having ‘a sharp Berlin tongue’ and announced the end of his career as a result of inflation. [link to Public Reception] Through the liquidation of the Berlin gallery, George Grosz had depts with Flechtheim which the receiver tried to recover. [link to Liquidisation] Shortly before the Nazis seized power in January 1933 Grosz emigrated to the United States. His studio and flat in Berlin were searched by the National Socialists. In February 1938 twenty-four paintings by George Grosz were sold at an auction in Amsterdam entitled ‘Bequest of Alfred Flechtheim’. [link to Biography]

In 1938 works by Grosz were included in the ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition in Munich. In the United States he was met increasing acclaim and, in 1941, a retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Grosz worked as a professor of art for financial reasons and, for a time, ran a school of painting together with Maurice Sterne. Shortly before his death, Grosz returned to West Berlin in 1959.

Individual exhibitons at the Galerie Flechtheim

März–April 1926

George Grosz
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

Oktober 1930

George Grosz, Ölgemälde und Aquarelle
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Group exhibitions at the Galerie Flechtheim

Januar–Februar 1928

Eduard Arnthal. Gemälde und Aquarelle
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

Juni 1929

Lebende deutsche Kunst aus rheinischem Privatbesitz
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Sommer 1929

Sommer 1929: Rudolf Grossmann und andere
Berlin, Düsseldorf, (Lützowufer, Königsallee)

Sommer 1930

Sommer 1930: Renoir und lebende Meister
Berlin, Düsseldorf, (Lützowufer, Königsallee)

November–Dezember 1930

Seit Liebermann in Deutschland. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Dezember 1932 – Januar 1933

Lebendige deutsche Kunst. Ausstellungsfolge in drei Abteilungen. Veranstaltet von Paul Cassirer und Alfred Flechtheim. Erste Ausstellung beim Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer
Berlin, Viktoriastraße 35