George Grosz - Caféhaus II
Black pen and ink drawing on chamois-coloured parchment-like paper 32.9 x 21 cm Framed under glass. Signed and numbered 'GROSZ II' in pencil lower right and barely legibly titled 'Cafe [haüs]' left. - Small brownish spots in left margin, a minute tear and small punctures in upper margin.
In 1915/16 George Grosz used a staccato-like and rapid style of drawing to transpose the fast-paced, bustling life and tumult of the modern metropolis Berlin into richly detailed, superimposed scenes - thus capturing the synchronicity of the dyssynchronous, the individual moment. George Grosz also presented his distinctive graphic concept during these initial years of World War I in various cycles of prints. Our scenery can be found in a similar form in other images of cafes, for example: in the famous portfolios “Ecce Homo” and “Kleine Grosz Mappe” (see Dückers M II, 4; S I, 41). There, richly detailed and seemingly observed with X-ray vision, Grosz has revealed a revolver through the cloth of one of the card players' jacket pocket; the artist likewise enjoyed depicting women rushing past, who are seen naked beneath their long skirts and corsages (see Dückers M II, 4 and M II 3). In our drawing, as well, the figures are characterised in a biting and unappealing manner, and even the dogs are pitiable creatures exposed to the waiters' kicks. Here this typical scene of the social critic Grosz may particularly refer to the closing of the “Café des Westens”, located in Berlin's Kurfürstendamm until 1915: spiders hang from the ceiling and the features of the waiter rushing to the empty tables with just two little glasses are already half skeletonised. In Grosz's street and cafe scenes of these years, the perspectives which are piled up into teetering pyramids point to the unstable socio-economic conditions.
For this lot, special conditions are applicable (legend "D" according to the conditions of sale).
With a confirmation from Ralph Jentsch, Berlin/Rome, dated 10 October 2017. The work is to be included in the catalogue raisonné of the works on paper by George Grosz.
Artist's studio 1915; Private collection Hamburg; Graphisches Kabinett Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Bremen (label on frame backing verso); Klaus J. Jacobs Collection, Zurich
Berlin/Düsseldorf/Stuttgart 1994/1995 (Neue Nationalgalerie/Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen/Staatsgalerie Stuttgart), George Grosz: Berlin - New York, beside catalogue (label on frame backing verso)