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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

George Grosz

"My drawings and paintings were done as an act of protest; I was trying by means of my work to convince the world that it is ugly, sick and hypocritical."

German Artist
1893 - 1959

The Wanderer
Do you believe that art should be beautiful?  Should we as artists and writers only show what is best about the world and the humans who occupy great chunks of it?  Some people would say: "Yes, that the ugly is not art. That art and writing are to show mankind at its best."  Why do you think so many people want a happy ending to a novel or a movie?  The hero may go down into the gutter to find the criminal, but he must rise above the world he inhabits and transcend the ugliness around him.  He must be better than those he encounters.

Grosz fought on the side of Germany during World War I.  He volunteered in 1914 and was discharged in 1915 as unfit for duty.  He was conscripted in 1917 because Germany was desperate for soldiers.  He was court-martialed for insubordination and sentenced to death.  One of his patrons saved him from execution and he was diagnosed as suffering from shell-shock and discharged.  Anti-Nazi, Grosz left Germany for America before Hitler came to power and became a naturalized citizen in 1938.  Here is a painting Grosz painted in 1943, entitled, Hitler in Hell.

Hitler in Hell