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

(German, 1893–1959)
Support: Cream wove paper (now discolored to light brown)
Sheet: 52.7 x 38 cm (20 3/4 x 14 15/16 in.)
© Estate of George Grosz / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Did You Know?

George Grosz's interest in mechanization extended to his drawing practice: he used drafting tools, like a straight-edge and compass, to execute works such as this one.


Student belongs to a series of drawings George Grosz made for Iwan Goll’s 1921 play Methusalem: The Eternal Bourgeois. This satirical drama pitted a radical student against Methusalem, a bourgeois capitalist. Grosz’s drawing shows the student’s costume; the actor would have spoken from behind a full-size, mask-like shield made from various machine parts and other commonplace objects. The hinged metal head reveals the inner workings of a corrupt or incompetent mind. In Grosz’s characterization, neither the radical student nor the bourgeois capitalist was more righteous than the other. Grosz was an outlier to Expressionism, rejecting the idea of the artist as mystical prophet in favor of the artist as an ordinary worker, an idea inspired by the socialist rhetoric of the day.
Student (Costume Study for Goll's "Methusalem") (recto)

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


George Grosz

(German, 1893–1959)
Germany, Berlin, 20th century

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