George Grosz, a Biography

Kay M. Flavell, Author, M. Kay Flavell, Author, Mary Kay Flavell, Author Yale University Press $50 (355p) ISBN 978-0-300-04145-3
Grosz's wicked caricatures of middle-class hypocrisy and fascist evil in Weimar Germany assured his stature as a universal artist. But his career from 1933, when he fled Berlin to live in the U.S., until his death in 1959 has been viewed by some critics as a declinea misplaced Dadaist's turning away from political and social themes. Not so, argues Flavell, a visiting professor at UC Davis, in this superb biographical-critical study. She interprets his graphic chronicle of World War II horrors as a Goyaesque tragedy; she deciphers the postwar allegories, self-portraits, collages and apocalyptic scenes in terms of the artist's existentialist questioning of values. Part of the reason for Grosz's benign neglect in America, Flavell charges, is that he disappointed the left by taking an independent stance equally critical of authoritarian communism and fascism. With 105 reproductions (20 in color), this study is a major reevaluation of Grosz's brooding critique of modern life. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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