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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / German Expressionism / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
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George Grosz (German, 1893-1958): Ecce Homo color lithographs II

Click here for biographical introduction

Grosz: Ecce Homo color I / Grosz: Ecce Homo color II
Grosz: Ecce Homo / Grosz: Ecce Homo 2 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 3 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 4 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 5
Grosz: Ecce Homo 6 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 7 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 8 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 9 / Grosz: Ecce Homo 10 / Grosz : Tartarin

German Expressionism: People / Lovers / Social Interaction

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Josef Albers,
Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth,
Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Alfons Graber, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel,
Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer,Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner,
Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen, Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault,
Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott, Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Perhaps the most famous of Grosz's collections is Ecce Homo (Berlin: Malik Verlag, 1923). The title echoes Pilate's presentation of Jesus as King of the Jews, beaten, with a crown of thorns, bloody and ready for crucifixion, and clearly not the Messiah he had been proclaimed to be six days earlier when he was greeted by rapturous crowds. Just so, the image of the heroic German, brave in war and moral in peacetime, took such a beating in Grosz's drawings, watercolors, and paintings, that he was prosecuted for "offences against public morality and for besmirching the values of the German people" (Kranzfelder, 59). Ecce Homo was found to be a slanderous attack upon the army, which won damages and the removal of 5 color plates and 17 black and white plates from the portfolio in a law suit. Grosz was also fined 6000 marks. Since Grosz had been attacking the Nazis since the early 1920s and since he had singled out Hitler in particular, it is not surprising that after the Nazi's took power in Germany, his works were singled out for ridicule and destruction. 285 of his works were removed from German collections and destroyed and the 1937 Munich Exhibition of Nazi-labelled "Degenerate Art" included five of his paintings, two watercolors, and thirteen drawings (Kranzfelder, p. 86). After relocating to the U.S., Grosz wrote to J. B. Neuman concerning his own place in the history of art: "My drawings will naturally stay true–they are fireproof. They will later be seen as Goya's work [is]. They are not documents of the class struggle, but eternally living documents of human stupidity and brutality" (Hess, p. 240).

According to Dückers, the portfolios were printed in December 1922 and published in January 1923. The publisher offered purchasers 5 separate options:
Ausgabe A / Deluxe Edition A: numbers I-L containing 16 lithographs after watercolors and 84 lithographs loose in a silk portfolio, each print hand-signed by the artist.
Ausgabe B 1 / Deluxe Edition B 1: , numbers 1-100 containing just the 16 lithographs after watercolors, loose in a half-vellum portfolio, each print hand-signed by the artist.
Ausgabe B 2 / Edition B 2: the same as edition B 1, except unsigned in a handmade board binding;
Ausgabe C / Edition C: the same as edition A, except unsigned in a handmade board binding, edition size c. 6000-8000;
Ausgabe D / Edition D: just the 84 lithographs unsigned in a chromo board binding.
The total edition was about 10,000 printed, but given the Nazis approach to Grosz' works, the likelihood that most of the portfolios survived the Nazi regime is quite small. In 1965, Brussel and Brussel reproduced Edition C on smaller-sized paper in a bound book and in 1966 Grove Press followed suite, again in a reduced size edition. We have a copy of the Grove Press version (with introduction by Henry Miller), and it seems fairly clear that they found an impression of Edition C, produced an edition based upon offset lithographic reproductions of the plates. If one puts the color plates from the 1922 edition next to their counterparts from the 1966 Grove Press edition, the differences are blindingly obvious: the colors in the 1922 edition are rich and intense; the colors in the reprint are flat and dull. All of the works we have available are from a disbound example of Edition C.

Selected Bibliography: Alexander Dückers, George Grosz: Das druckgraphische Werk (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 1979); there is also an edition with an English translation published by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1966, from which we will cite: George Grosz: Das druckgraphische Werk / The Graphic Work; Bruce Davis, German Expressionist Prints and Drawings: The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies. Volume 2: Catalogue of the Collection (Prestel: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989); M. Kay Flavell, George Grosz: A Biography (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988); Frank Gettings, George Grosz - The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection ( Washington DC: Smithsonian, 1978); George Grosz, A Small Yes and a Big No: The Autobiography of George Grosz (London: Allison & Busby, 1982); Hans Hess, George Grosz (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985); Ivo Kranzfelder, George Grosz: 1893-1959 (Köln: Benedikt Taschen, 1994); Hedy B. Landman, Theatrical Drawings and Watercolors by George Grosz (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1973); Beth Irwin Lewis, George Grosz: Art and Politics in the Weimar Republic (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971); Barbara McCloskey, George Grosz and the Communist Party (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997); Serge Sabarsky, George Grosz: The Berlin Years (NY: Rizzoli, 1985); Uwe M. Schneede, George Grosz: His life and work (London: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1979); Peter Selz, German Expressionist Painting (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957; 1974).
Soirée (1922) (Duckers S-IX). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Full page color illustration in Kranzfelder, p. 63. Image size: 268x191mm. Price: $2000.
Johannisnacht / Midsummer Night (1918) (Duckers S-X). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Image size: 278x164mm. Price: $1750.
Professor Freud gewidmet / Dedicated to Professor Freud (1922) (Duckers S-XI). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Image size: 280x183mm. Price: $1750.
Der Mensch ist gut / People are basically good (1921) (Duckers S-XII). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Image size: 275x200mm. Price: $2000.
Walzertraum / Waltz Dream (1921) (Duckers S-XIV). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). The work is reproduced in the catalogue of the 15th European Exhibition, Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre (Berlin, 1977) and in Grosz's autobiography, where it is titled, "The Relicts." Image size: 252x194mm. Price: $2250.
Ach, knallige Welt, du seliges Abnormitätenkabinett / Oh, Crazy World, You Blissful Cabinet of Freaks (1916) (Duckers S-XIV). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Color illustration in Kranzfelder, p. 59. Image size: 274x198mm. Price: $2000.
Vor Sonnenaufgang / Before Sunrise (1922) (Duckers S-XV). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Illustrated Kranzfelder, p. 59. Image size: 265x202mm. Price: $2000.
Dämmerung / Dusk (1922) (Duckers S-XVI). Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Offset color lithograph after a watercolor for Ecce Homo, 1922. Our impression is from the unsigned Ausgabe C of the first edition of Ecce Homo (Berlin, 1923). Full page Illustration Kranzfelder, p. 47. Image size: 283x210mm. Price: $2000.

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