Student (Costume Study for Goll's "Methusalem") (recto)

Student (Costume Study for Goll's "Methusalem") (recto)


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George Grosz

(German, 1893-1959)

Pen and brown-black ink (applied with the aid of drafting tools) and watercolor

Support: Cream wove paper (now discolored to light brown)

Sheet: 52.7 x 38 cm (20 3/4 x 14 15/16 in.)

Contemporary Collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1966.50.a



Student is one of a series of drawings Grosz made for Iwan Goll's 1921 play Methusalem: The Eternal Bourgeois. This satirical drama pitted the radical Student against the bourgeois capitalist Methusalem. Grosz's drawing shows a novel approach to costume design, one in which the actor would have spoken from behind full-size, masklike shields made from various machine parts and other commonplace objects. The annotations on the work suggest more about Grosz's unusual conception of the costume, for example: "Emits steam from time to time while speaking," which the artist wrote near the narrow tube jutting from the figure's head.

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