05-15-2009 05-15-2009
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2459 Boston
May 15, 2009 4:00PMCalender

George Ehrenfried Grosz (German/American, 1893-1959) The Black Cabby

Auction: American & European Works of Art - 2459 Location: Boston Date / Time: May 15, 2009 4:00PM


George Ehrenfried Grosz (German/American, 1893-1959)

The Black Cabby
c. 1933. Signed "Grosz" l.r.
Watercolor on paper, sight size 24 1/8 x 17 1/4 in. (61.3 x 43.8 cm), framed.
Condition: Subtle toning, not examined out of frame.

N.B. George Grosz is best known for his lively depictions of city life. A Berlin-born artist, Grosz's work displays the prevailing artistic movements in Europe. His work was "altered by his exposure to Cubism and Futurism, attested to by his enthusiastic adoption of angularity, transparent planes and simultaneous overlappings."(1) Grosz moved to New York in 1933 following an invitation to teach at the Arts Students League. At that time, America was grappling with the Great Depression, the New Deal, "and a naïve desire for Isolationism." (2) Ralph Jentsch writes, "With setting the figure of a black man like a monument in the foreground of this watercolour, the artist demonstrates that this man is also part of the many faces a big city like New York can have."(3)

The work will be included in Ralph Jentsch's forthcoming catalogue raisonne of the artist. A copy of a photo-certificate and letter from Ralph Jentsch, both dated May 21, 2008, accompany the lot.

(1) Pincus-Witten, Robert "George Grosz: Watercolors and Drawings," Members Newsletter published by the Museum of Modern Art, No 6 (Autumn, 1969) p. 10.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ralph Jentsch, May 21, 2008.

Estimate $15,000-25,000

Out of the frame the sheet measures 24 x 18 1/8 inches, and has two partial P M FABRIANO watermarks. The toning is subtle and even, and there is mat burn to the edges of the sheet. The sheet has many fine handling creases, more visible on the verso. There is brown paper tape and residue to the verso along parts of the edges.

It is possible that the signature was a later or apocryphyal addition to the work.


George Ehrenfried Grosz, Ralph Jentsch, George Ehrenfried, B. George Grosz, Berlin-born artist, Arts Students League, the New Deal, the Great Depression