The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 18, 2024

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

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

(German, 1893–1959)
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

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.
  • Baur, John Ireland Howe. George Grosz. Exh. Cat. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1954. Mentioned: pp. 16-17, no. 36; Reproduced: p. 16
    Rubin, William S. Dada and Surrealist Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1968. Mentioned: p. 88; Reproduced: plate 76
    Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre. Exh. Cat. Berlin: Akademie der Künste, 1977. Mentioned: p. 3, p. 261; Reproduced: p. 3, p. 51
    Ades, Dawn. Dada and Surrealism Reviewed. Exh. Cat. London: Hayward Gallery, 1978. Mentioned: p. 94
    Wohl, Helmut. DADA: Berlin, Cologne, Hannover. Exh. Cat. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1980. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 12, p. 26
    Breitman, Ellen. Art and the Stage. Exh. Cat. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1981. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 29, no. 14
    Myers, Trent. Robots: History, Fantasy, & Reality. Exh. Cat. Madison, WI: Madison Art Center, 1985. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 3, insert
    Cleveland Museum of Art, Diane DeGrazia, and Carter E. Foster. Master Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art in association with Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 2000. Mentioned: P. 246-47, 297; Reproduced: P. 247, cat. no. 104
    Sims, Lowery Stokes. The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Content, and Culture in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2006. Mentioned and Reproduced: P. 65, no. 63
  • Dada Revisited. Akron Art Museum (organizer).
    Golden Anniversary of Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (September 10-October 16, 1966).
    Tendencies of the Twenties. Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin 19, Germany (August 14, 1977-October 16, 1978); Städelsches Kunstinstitut im Städtischen Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, Franfurt am Main, Germany (November 10, 1977-January 8, 1978).
    Dada and Surrealism Reviewed. Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (January 11-March 27, 1978).
    Dada Revisited. Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH (organizer) (June 30-September 15, 1978).
    DADA: Berlin, Cologne, Hannover. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Boston, MA (November 5, 1980-January 4, 1981); Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX (March 3-April 19, 1981).
    Art and the Stage. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (May 22-August 16, 1981).
    Robots: History, Fantasy, & Reality. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI (organizer) (December 1-January 19, 1985).
    Cross Section: Graphic Art in Germany after the First World War. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 10, 1989-January 7, 1990).
    Master Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (August 27-October 17, 2000); The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY (May 23-August 19, 2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX (October 14, 2001-January 6, 2002).
    The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Content and Culture in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Cleveland, OH (June 9-August 20, 2006).
    Graphic Discontent: German Expressionism on Paper. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (January 14-May 27, 2018).
    George Grosz. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (January - February 1954).
  • {{cite web|title=Student (Costume Study for Goll's "Methusalem") (recto)|url=false|author=George Grosz|year=1922|access-date=18 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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