George Grosz: The Big NO

George Grosz: The Big NO


George Grosz was one of the greatest satirical artists of the 20th century. A Dadaist and a revolutionary in Berlin in the 1920s, he depicted the vices and injustices of a deeply divided society. In this volume, Grosz’s drawings present a caustic, comic view of Germany in the troubled years of the Weimar Republic.


George Grosz: The Big NO features two of the most famous portfolios of his drawings: Ecce Homo, 1923 and Hintergrund, 1928. Ecce Homo shows Grosz at the height of his satirical powers. His razor-sharp line dissects life in Berlin with savage humour, capturing the decadence and corruption of a society living in the shadow of hyperinflation and social disorientation, divided between fascism and communism. The anti-militarist message of Hintergrund (published on the occasion of Erwin Piscator’s stage production of The Good Soldier Švejk) resulted in criminal charges against artist and publisher for ‘blasphemy and defamation of the German military’. After an epic trial that lasted four years, both men were acquitted.


George Grosz: The Big NO includes all the black and white drawings from both of these ground-breaking portfolios, along with a chronology of important events in Germany during Grosz’s lifetime. An illuminating essay by filmmaker and curator Lutz Becker situates Grosz’s life and work in the social and political context of his time.


Foreword by Roger Malbert

Essay by Lutz Becker

144 pages
1.6 x 15.9 x 21.6cm
ISBN: 9781853323003
RRP £12.95

Designed by Richard Hollis

George Grosz (1893-1959) was one of the greatest satirical writers of the twentieth century. A co-founder of the Berlin Dada group and a revolutionary in the 1920s, he made hundreds of drawings depicting the vices and injustices of capitalist society during the Weimar era, before emigrating to America in 1933, where he continued to work and teach, free from the prosecutions that had dogged him and his work in Nazi Germany.

Lutz Becker is a filmmaker, curator and writer best known for political and art documentaries including Double-Headed Eagle (1972) and Vita Futurista (1987). An experienced curator, he has collaborated with numerous institutions on exhibitions such as The Romantic Spirit in German Art (Hayward Gallery, 1994) and Cut and Paste - European photomontage 1920-45 (Estorick Collection, 2008).

Roger Malbert is Senior Curator of Hayward Touring.

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The George Grosz’s drawings compiled in George Grosz: THE BIG NO present a caustic, comic view of Germany in the troubled years of the Weimar Republic. Ranging from primitive and graffiti-like drawings to complex Futuristic street scenes with teeming crowds of overlapping figures, this collection shows Grosz at the height of his satirical powers.