Research Curator Marjorie Searl speaks about this object.
This is Marjorie Searl speaking about the painting The Wanderer by George Grosz .
“Ominous” is the word that I think of when I visit this painting. Nearly all of my senses are activated negatively. The colors are a stew of browns, blacks and muddy grays. Explosions in the distance are muted by the sound of boots splashing through swampy water and the caws of crows circling nearby in search of carrion in the marsh. The smells of decay and dampness mingle with smoke.
While this is an imaginary scene, there was nothing imaginary about the disturbed quality of the artist’s emotions during this period of time. In Grosz’s words, “I had grown up in a humanist atmosphere, and war to me was never anything but horror, mutilation and senseless destruction.” George Grosz was a wanted man in Germany in the 1940s. He had been an outspoken critic of Nazi policies and power as early as 1925. By 1933, when the Nazis were firmly entrenched, he recognized that he was endangered and came to the United States to teach, sending for his family soon thereafter and becoming an American citizen in 1938. However, in America, he never felt quite at home, always an exile and out of touch with the subject matter that had inspired so many of his greatest works of art, the people and politics of Germany. In the self-portrait on view here, Grosz depicts himself turning his back on a burning Europe and slogging toward an uncertain future through a ‘slough of despond,’ like the pilgrim in John Bunyan’s allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress.
America provided a safe haven for many European artists during the years prior to and following World War II. As teachers, writers and art makers, the influence of Grosz and his fellow émigrés on the creative culture of the American art scene was profound and longlasting.
Your current search criteria is: Object is "The Wanderer".