Modell Lotte Schmalhausen. 1927. Watercolor. Lower right signed. On firm wove paper. 66 x 38 cm (25.9 x 14.9 in), size of sheet.
The work will be included by Ralph Jentsch into the forthcoming catalog raisonné of works on paper.
PROVENANCE: Billy Wilder, Los Angeles Crane Kalman Gallery, London. Private collection (acquired from aforementioned in 1991).
EXHIBITION: George Grosz Drawings 1920 - 1940, Herbert Palmer Gallery, Beverly Hills 1979.
George Grosz' erotic fantasies play a role in many his works, but hardly ever as subtle as it is the case in this watercolor, which for its soft color application and the mellow wash deserves to be regarded one of his most outstanding works from the 1920s. Lotte Schmalhausen was George Grosz' sister-in-law and, as other depictions of her deliver proof of, surely no wallflower. George Grosz, who loved to break the facade of the world of common people by questioning their prudery, celebrates his erotic intentions in this work, however, with both joy and sufficient decency. Contrary to his later nudes, as their vulgar depictions reveal a loss of sensual virility. Following the zeitgeist, it is not the female nude as such that is at the peak of erotic sensation. The half-dressed lady piques curiosity and stirs desire. A theme that Rudolf Schlichter was also fascinated by, known for his sexual obsessions, he was unmasked by George Grosz in a caricature lithograph. This work is more characterized by a masterly technique and less by this obsessive sensuality. The mellow watercolors and the soft body of the depicted reveal enough of the secret admiration of her attraction. [KD]