German/American (1893 – 1959)
The Green Door, 1934
Graphite drawing on paper, to be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works on paper by George Grosz by Ralph Jentsch.
Signed lower left and numbered 15 lower right in pencil. The estate stamp and number “6-72-10” on the verso.
23 ¼ x 18 1/8 inches | 59.1 x 46 cm
Studio of the artist, Bayside, Long Island, 1934
George Grosz Estate, 1959
Private Collection, California
This large and energetic drawing, in fine condition, was created a year after Grosz arrived in New York and the setting is Broadway’s theater district. Just as he had critiqued the corruption and chaos in Germany between the wars, Grosz interpreted American society with an often acerbic or satirical tone. It features a mysterious black man handing out cards to passersby and an archetypal Grosz man with a hat and cigar, which may be a self-portrait.
The Green Door is related to Grosz’s watercolor based on “The Voice of the City and Other Stories” by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), published by The Limited Editions Club, New York, 1935. Ralph Jentsch wrote about this drawing: “With his short stories, often taking place in gloomy milieus, with heroes living on the edge of existence, the famous O. Henry achieved the reputation as a master of the literary twist. It was an ideal template for an artist like Grosz to illustrate a collection of these stories. “The Green Door” is a mysterious, irritating story, taking place in the middle of New York, on downtown Broadway. As having walked this area of Broadway many times himself, Grosz introduces … his own experiences. It is the swirling life of Broadway. There is the entrance of a theater with its figure heads and the electric letters of a dentist’s sign with a chattering of teeth in a glass case. The note on the card reads “The Green Door”.’
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