Berlin Street

Artist: George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)

Date: 1931

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 32 x 23 5/8 in. (81.3 x 60 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Hugo Kastor Fund, 1963

Accession Number: 63.220


In Berlin Street, Grosz depicts several menacing denizens of Berlin against the backdrop of the modern metropolis, a hellish place animated by greed, cruelty, and ghoulish lust. A beggar, one of the two million crippled World War I veterans who roamed the streets of Berlin, sits on the lower left and holds up his hat to a woman, whose garish attire and crude make-up suggest that she is most likely a prostitute. The palette of grays, browns, and blacks further emphasizes the grit and grime of city life. Distorted, soulless automatons, the figures appear as slaves to capitalistic decadence.