Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Raimond Selke - ‘Painted history’. The Art of George Grosz in post-World War I Berlin
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Graduate School of Language and Culture, School of Foreign Studies Osaka University, Japan
‘Painted history’. The Art of George Grosz in post-World War I Berlin
Abstract: In 1926, the German painter George Grosz produced his masterpiece, Eclipse of the Sun, in which he expressed his cynical view of the calamitous post-World War I Weimar Republic. He had built up a skeptical vision of the exploitation openly undertaken by corrupt politicians in concert with self-serving business leaders. The German people had accepted the events surrounding them in a sheep-like manner, and the Church turned a blind eye. Grosz had always wanted to produce paintings that challenged perceptions, and planned the painting to be part of a triptych, but only completed one more section, the magnificent Pillars of Society. Grosz was one of a number of artists who joined the Army shortly after the outbreak of World War I. After 1914, many artists had experienced war first-hand, and they started to produce detailed work reflecting the horrors they had witnessed. Such work frequently differed from previous depictions of war which were often based upon second-hand accounts and did not challenge people’s sensitivities. After the war, Grosz dabbled in Communism, and visited Russia. He emigrated to the USA in 1932, but by then his best years as an artist were behind him. However, his timing was fortuitous because his departure took place shortly before the Nazis came to power in Germany. This...
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