Born 26 July 1893 Berlin. Painter, writer and
caricaturist. Studied at the Dresden and Berlin
academies. Contributed to satirical periodicals.
Came to the Berlin dada movement in 1918.
Edited the periodicals "Die Pleite"
("Bankruptcy") together with Wieland Herzfelde;
"Jeder sein eigener Fussball" ("Everyman his
own Football") with Franz Jung; and "Der
blutige Ernst" ("In Bloody Earnest"), with Carl
Einstein. On his dada period he wrote in his
book "Art In Danger": "Civilian again, I
experienced in Berlin the rudimentary
beginnings of the dada movement, the start of
which coincided with the 'swede' period of
malnutrition. The roots of this German dada
movement were to be found in the recognation
that it was perfectly crazy to believe that the
spirit, or anything spiritual ruled the world.
Dadaism was the only significant artistic
movement in Germany for decades. Dadaism
was no artificially fostered movement but an
organic product, at its origin a reaction to the
cloudlike ramblings of so-called sacred art.
Dadaism forced artists to declare openly their
position .. . What did the dadaists do? They
said that it did not matter whether a man blew a
'raspberry' or recited a sonnet by Petrarca or
Shakespeare or Rilke, whether he gilded
jack-boot heels or carved statues of the Virgin.
Shooting went on regardless, profiteering went
on regardless, people would go on starving
regardless, lies would always be told
regardless—what was the good of art anyway?
In those days we saw the mad final
excrescences of the ruling order of society, and
burst out laughing. We did not yet see that
there was a system behind all this madness."
George Grosz was the most pitiless
caricaturist of the German bourgeoisie and of
German militarism. In 1925 he approached that
type of realism designated as "new
matter-of-factness". In the U. S. A., where he
went in 1932, his pictures assumed romantic,
idyllic overtones. Looking back on it all, he
wrote in his autobiography "A Little Yes And A
Big No": "Artistically speaking we were
'dadaists' in those days. If that meant anything
it was a disquiet, a dissatisfaction, a delight in
mockery, that had all been fermenting a long
time already. Every defeat, every upheaval gives
birth to such movements. In another period we
might have been flagellants . . . Huelsenbeck
imported dada to Berlin, and it assumed
immediately political features. The aesthetical
side was preserved, but got more and more
supplanted by a kind of anarchist-nihilistic
politics, chiefly propounded by the writer, Franz
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