|About the Book|
This finely crafted and concisely written book is a major contribution to the literature on George Grosz. It will provoke a lively scholarly debate. Maria Makela, Maryland InstituteGeorge Grosz (1893-1959) occupied the forefront of German Expressionism, Dadaism, and New Objectivity in the years before Hitlers rise to power in 1933. In the aftermath of World War I, the November Revolution, and the founding of the German Communist Party in 1918, Grosz also became the Communist Partys leading and most notorious artist. His bitterly satiric drawings of bloated capitalists, sadistic militarists, and fatuous government and church officials served as the focus of public controversy that landed Grosz in court on three separate occasions during the 1920s. In the 1930s, the Nazis denounced him as Germanys Cultural Bolshevist #1. Here, however, Barbara McCloskey shows that Groszs art and activities were equally, if not more, controversial for the Communist Party in whose name Grosz carried out his work. Drawing on Communist Party press reports, documents, and congress proceedings, McCloskey explores for the first time Groszs changing involvement with the Party and provides a vivid history of the often tense and uncertain relationship between vanguard art and revolutionary politics during the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic.Continuing her account with his emigration to New York in 1933, McCloskey documents Groszs interaction with prominent members of New Yorks anti-Stalinist left, where conflicts with the Communist Party profoundly influenced Groszs final rejection not only of Communism, but also of art in the service of politics. McCloskeys study of Groszs role in thepoliticized art world of New York sheds new light on the cultural crises of the 1930s and the depoliticization and ultimate demise of radical leftism on the eve of World War II.