George Grosz - Ecce Homo
Portfolio with 11 (of 16) colour offset prints after watercolours and 67 (of 84) offset prints after pen drawings. Each on slightly yellowish wove paper with embossed plate margins. The motifs numbered in Roman resp. Arabic numerals to the lower left. Including a loose title sheet with colophon and index sheet, each printed on both sides Each 30 x 21.4 cm resp. 21.4 x 30 cm embossed plates (up to approx. 35.8 x 26.6 cm resp. 26.5 x 35.9 cm) The reproductions all signed in pencil lower right in the plate margin. Numbered and inscribed in handwriting "a 6" in red crayon in the colophon beneath the signet of the Malik publishers designed by Grosz. Edition A on this paper, one of 50 proofs of the special edition (referred to with the Roman numeral "L"). - With the original portfolio case. Cardboard box covered with fine chamois coloured silk with gilt embossing, the title "George Grosz/ ECCE HOMO" in spared letters. 38.9 x 28.5 x 4.5 cm. Print and reproduction by Kunstanstalt Dr. Selle & Co. A.-G., Berlin. Edition Der Malik-Verlag Berlin 1923. - The sheets with occasional small marginal defects, some professionally restored. - Age-related defects to the case (moisture damage, i.a. with water marks, the textile covering partially discoloured, wear to the corners).
“Ecce Homo”, published by the Malik Verlag in five different editions during the weeks of the turn of year 1922/1923, is a selected compendium of drawings by Grosz from 1915 to 1922: critical of their time and society, biting and satirical. The large total edition of the watercolours and drawings (10 000 copies) replicated in a meticulous reproduction process was meant to guarantee their mass distribution. As Alexander Dückers emphasises, George Grosz's drawn work is hardly to be divided from his printed work, and it is downright characteristic that, after 1918, in keeping with his “undogmatic” concept, the artist published “almost exclusively photolithographs and offset prints after drawings, that is, graphic reproductions.” (A. Dückers) The copy of “Ecco Homo” offered here includes the signed and nearly complete series and is an edition from the limited special edition, which is extremely rare today. After the end of the war, in 1945/1946, it ended up on Berlin's black market in a battered state and an attentive collector discovered and secured it by way of exchange following liberation.
The artist and the publishers Julian Gumperz and Wieland Herzfelde were put on trial in 1923/1924 because “Ecce Homo” contained numerous sheets that offended “the sense of shame and decency of a person with normal perceptions in regard to sexuality” - as stated in the charges. “However, the court did not consent to the prosecution's claim that the entire 'Ecce Homo' portfolio be confiscated and destroyed. It determined only that 17 of the 84 drawings and five of the 16 reproductions of watercolours were to be removed from the work.” (Vossische Zeitung, 17 Feb 1924, cited in Alexander Dückers, George Grosz, Das druckgraphische Werk, Berlin 1979, p. 210; see also Rosamunde Neugebauer, Zur öffentlichen Wirkung: Ecce homo - “grob unzüchtig”, Der Ecce homo-Prozeß, in: op. cit. p. 111). Some of the incriminated, confiscated sheets are missing in this sequence, but not all of them. "Friedrichstrasse" belongs to them, among others.
List of works
Dückers S I, edition A (of D) with the sheets: I; II; VI - XII; XIV; XVI; 1; 2; 4 - 8; 10; 12- 27; 29; 31 - 35; 37; 39 - 41; 43; 46; 47; 49 - 59; 61 - 63; 65; 66; 68; 69; 71 - 74; 76; 77; 79 - 84
Acquired immediately after the war in Berlin (c. 1945), since then in family possesion
Wieland Herzfelde (introduction), Der Malik-Verlag, 1916-1947, exhib. cat. Deutsche Akademie der Künste Berlin, Berlin (Ost) 1966, cat. no. 59; Lothar Lang, George-Grosz-Bibliographie, in: Marginalien, Zeitschrfit für Buchkunst und Bibliophilie, 30th issue, July 1968, p. 1 ff, no. 38; Rosamunde Neugebauer, Georges Grosz, Macht und Ohnmacht satirischer Kunst. Die Graphikfolgen "Gott mit uns", Ecce Homo und Hintergrund, Berlin 1993, p. 81 ff.