George Grosz War Invalid and Workers from In the Shadows (Im Schatten) c. 1920, published 1921

  • Not on view

This portfolio focuses on the lives of Weimar Germany's forgotten citizens: the toiling proletariat and crippled veterans who enjoyed none of the glittering pleasures of the postwar metropolis. Grosz presents the monotonous lives of the workers sympathetically, reserving his usual scathing caricature for fat capitalists, petit-bourgeois philistines, and pompous army officers. Workers, war invalids, and impoverished mothers and widows go about their lives in tattered clothing with quiet dignity. Grosz humanizes the workers, carefully giving each a unique physiognomy and gait, even as they head en masse to the factory.

In Früh um 5 Uhr! (Dawn), Grosz contrasts emaciated workers with the overfed rich, who gorge themselves at other people's expense. A committed communist who saw his art as a weapon of class struggle, Grosz preferred the ease of making drawings that could then be reproduced mechanically. He nevertheless recognized the need for financial support from the wealthy classes he pilloried in his work. In addition to a cheap "trade union" edition, priced for a working-class budget, the publishing house Malik also produced several hundred copies of Im Schatten (In the shadows) in a costly, limited edition for the art market.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
One from a portfolio of ten offset lithographs (including title page)
composition (irreg.): 14 1/8 x 11 1/4" (35.8 x 28.5 cm); sheet (irreg.): 19 1/8 x 14" (48.5 x 35.5 cm)
Malik-Verlag, Berlin
probably Hermann Birkholz, Berlin
Object number
© 2024 Estate of George Grosz
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).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

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].