George Grosz set off for his first journey to America on 26 May 1932 - in summer 2002 Berlin will see the first showing of 60 photographs recording the artist´s journey and his arrival in the capital of the New World, where Grosz disembarked on 3 June 1932.
Research by Ralph Jentsch, the estate administrator and compiler of the Grosz oeuvre catalogue, has revealed that the total of 200 surviving contact prints came to light in 1944, but the negatives have still not been found. Special photo-technical processes made it possible to prepare vintage quality prints of the 60 selected works, and these will now go on tour from Berlin (the Berlin première will be followed by Ulm, Oldenburg and Paris, then further venues in Europe and the USA).
A substantial book compiled by Ralph Jentsch will be published to accompany the exhibition.
George Grosz´s work originated in Futurism and Dada, and he made his mark in the Weimar Republic as a merciless critic of his times. His depiction of the crucified Christ in a gas-mask ("Hintergrund", 1924) entangled him in a blasphemy trial that went on for years.
The telegram from the Arts Students League of New York, which arrived in 1932 to invite him to come to come and do a summer´s teaching in New York, arrived as a hopeful sign in these dark days - the photographs of the journey and the day of his arrival in New York reflect Grosz´s attitude of frank curiosity and optimism, imbued with the joy of discovery.
He observes his fellow passengers on the ocean liner "New York" with his camera and records technical details. In New York, the viewer follows the artist on foot and by bus through the lively, sunny streets. His "camera eye" lights in fascination on the shiny surfaces of the American limousines that seem to form an endless chain from 57th Street to Broadway, and also picks out the elegant façades and window displays along the avenues and the crowds of people in Herald Square.
There is a euphoria and a lightness in these photographs that are scarcely to be found anywhere else in the artist´s work.