Carl Grossberg is associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement in Germany, which developed during the 1920s and is best known through the work of Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Otto Dix (1891-1969), and George Grosz (1893-1959). During this period, many artists sought an alternative to the extreme colors and non-naturalistic distortions of Expressionism. Instead, a cool, more reserved palette and a smooth linearity characterize the techniques these artists favored.
Grossberg focused almost exclusively on the urban landscape and the machine. The power plant under construction in this sheet typifies the kind of industrial architecture that interested him. His imagery strongly parallels the contemporary American movement known as Precisionism, particularly the work of Charles Sheeler (1883-1965). Like Sheeler-whose important painting, Church Street El, can be seen in Gallery 239-Grossberg presented the mechanical world as clean, still, and airless.
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