DescriptionGeorge Grosz (1893-1959)
Im Café (Seminude Woman with Champagne Glass on verso), 1922
Watercolor and pen and ink on paper
20-1/2 x 25-1/2 inches (52.1 x 64.8 cm) (sheet)
Signed and dated lower right: Grosz / 1922
Inscribed on verso: No. 7 Galerie Billiet / "im Café"
Studio of the artist, Berlin, 1922;
Capt. Walter I. Farmer, Wiesbaden, Germany;
Kenneth Lindsay, Binghamton, New York, gift from the above, circa 1947;
By descent to the present owner.
Galerie Joseph Billiet & Cie, Paris, "Ire Exposition en France des Oeuvres de George Grosz," November 14-December 3, 1924.
We wish to thank Ralph Jentsch for his gracious assistance in cataloguing this watercolor, which will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works on paper by George Grosz. A photo-certificate accompanies this lot.
According to the art historian Ralph Jentsch,
This watercolor was among 12 watercolors and 12 drawings, as well as 22 lithographs, [that] Grosz sent on October 18, 1924, to the Paris Galerie Joseph Billiet for his first exhibition in France. Billiet did not list all the works Grosz had sent him in his catalogue; however, they most likely were on view to visitors of the gallery during the exhibition. On the invitation card for the opening of the show, Billiet proudly announced that this exhibition would be the first one of the artist in France.
Grosz ranked in France at the time as one of the most famous and well-known German artists. Marcel Ray, a journalist and professor in Paris, [had] published already in 1920 in the prestigious art magazine 'Cahiers d'aujourd'hui' a long article about Grosz . . . [and the] 1924 'Valore Plastici' published monograph on Grosz, with a text by Italo Tavolato, had editions in Italian, English and French. Grosz himself spent in 1924 a couple of months in Paris before the opening of his exhibition at the Billiet, meeting artists, writers and other French intellectuals.
Grosz regularly visited restaurants, bars and cafés in Berlin, as these places belonged to his preferred hunting grounds, as this watercolor proves. The Berlin coffee houses were popular meeting [places] and were occupied literally from morning to night by individuals and groups. For Grosz, however, being a keen observer, nothing escaped his obsessive eye, and he mercilessly captured everything he . . . witnessed like the two main characters in this very work, a couple that has nothing more to say to each other, or some lonely hearts seeking company. Grosz started the work with watercolor, working wet into wet, then carefully used the fine lines of pen and ink in order to outline faces, figures and objects in the composition...
Paper is hinged to the mat at the top edge verso, matted and framed under acrylic; lower left edge is jagged and has been cut; overall paper discoloration with mat burn and foxing, notably within the upper center; some discolored residue on the reverse, at the upper left of the image; the reverse has an 'X' drawn on top of the image; Framed Dimensions 26.75 X 30.75 Inches
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