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Image of Broadway

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George Grosz, German, (July 26, 1893–July 6, 1959)

Creation date: 1934
Creation place: United States

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Watercolor on paper
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge
Accession Number: 1991.13
State/Province: New York
Dimensions: 26 1/4 in. x 19 in. (66.68 cm x 48.26 cm)


David B. Findlay Inc., New York, New York ( - June 9, 1967)

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, France ( - )

Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge, La Jolla, California (June 9, 1967 - May 30, 1991)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (May 30, 1991 - )

Label Copy

Human Beast
Summer 2012
Not surprisingly, Grosz came under significant pressure with the Nazi rise to power and would eventually be branded “Cultural Bolshevist Number One.” The United States, in contrast, seemed like the free land of his dreams. He accepted a visiting professorship at the Art Students League, New York, in 1932, and in 1933, shortly before Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power, Grosz left permanently for the U.S. This watercolor, painted not long after his arrival, presents Broadway as akin to Berlin: a land of bars, smiling prostitutes, and their guilty-looking customers. There is a kind of affection in his view of the frenetic New York scene, in contrast to the disgust evident in his views of Berlin society, but as Grosz later admitted in his autobiography, “the faces I drew were mostly middle-aged and uglier than I intended.”

Tradition and Innovation installation
August 2003
Grosz brought the expressive gestures and chaotic movements of caricatures in satirical German periodicals to the United States when he arrived in 1933 and applied them to the residents and lifestyles he found in New York. From 1933 to 1936 he turned this visual raw material into a series of watercolors. His figures are thinly outlined and blurred with wet, transparent washes spread across the surface of the paper, creating haphazard patterns in the background and underscoring the feeling of pulsing energy—and even disorder—in the huge American metropolis.
Last Updated: 7/26/2012


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Works on Paper: 1900–1960, from Southern California Collections Montgomery Art Gallery , 9/18/1977 - 12/31/1977

The Walbridge Legacy The San Diego Museum of Art , 4/9/1988 - 5/29/1988

George Grosz , 4/8/2000 - 9/24/2000

Tradition and Innovation of European Modernis Drawings in Watercolors San Diego Museum of Art , 8/23/2003 - 12/14/2003

The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915–1935 Figge Art Museum , 9/17/2005 - 5/21/2006

The Human Beast San Diego Museum of Art , 7/21/2012 - 11/11/2012


This object has the following bibliographic references:

The Walbridge Legacy San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1988
Page Number: 59

The Walbridge Legacy San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1988
Page Number: 24, Figure Number: 24

Dr. Malcolm Warner. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 222, 238, 239, Figure Number: 239

Joanne Jaffe, ed. Works on Paper: 1900–1960, Montgomery Art Gallery, Pomona College. Claremont, California, 1977
Page Number: 40, 105, Figure Number: 23


Inscription, Lower right:

Signature, Lower right:

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