George Grosz. Outskirts (Peripherie) from The First George Grosz Portfolio (Erste George Grosz-Mappe). 1915–16, published 1916–17

George Grosz Outskirts (Peripherie) from The First George Grosz Portfolio (Erste George Grosz-Mappe) 1915–16, published 1916–17

  • Not on view

Shortly after his discharge from the German Army in May 1915, George Grosz began work on the images that appeared in 1917 in his first portfolio. The prints show his fascination with America and its promise of freedom, gleaned in part from James Fenimore Cooper's and Karl May's fanciful depictions of the American West. He also celebrates New York, capturing the city's energy through Expressionist spatial distortions and Futurist fracturing of the picture plane.

Grosz's images of Berlin, by contrast, take a mordantly realistic approach. Grosz highlights the misery of working-class life; smoking factories are never far from view. Dive bars, with their dubious pleasures, are the only source of solace from the cold and desolate streets. It is no better at home, in cheap apartment blocks, where scenes of murder, prostitution, and suicide play out.

The prints are photolithographs of drawings. Grosz showed little interest in exploring printmaking's technical and aesthetic possibilities. Instead, he exploited its reproducibility, printing large editions on a sliding scale: an inexpensive "popular" edition to reach mass audiences and a costly "luxury" edition, usually on better-quality paper. Grosz had no problems letting rich capitalists finance his attempts to bring about their demise.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
One from a portfolio of nine lithographs
composition (irreg.): 12 1/16 x 8 7/8" (30.6 x 22.5 cm); sheet: 19 11/16 x 15 3/8" (50 x 39 cm)
Verlag neue Jugend, Berlin, (Malik-Verlag)
Hermann Birkholz, Berlin
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Object number
© 2021 Estate of George Grosz
The First George Grosz Portfolio (Erste George Grosz-Mappe)
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].