A new museum dedicated to George Grosz is slated to open in Berlin this coming May. The museum, called Das kleine Grosz Museum (The Little Grosz Museum), was organized and funded by the George Grosz Estate and a number of private citizens, and while it is only expected to be in operation for a limited period, officials involved with the institution are hoping to make it a permanent fixture of the city’s scene.
“It is not our intention to compete with other Berlin museums for state funding,” Pay Matthis Karstens, the Museum’s future curator, told the Art Newspaper, which first reported news of the museum. “We will work with private funds. We hope Berliners will be enthusiastic.”
Though Grosz is a major figure in Germany and beyond, and despite his fame as one of the most important artists of the New Objectivity movement, until now there has not been a dedicated museum to his work in Berlin. Grosz, who was born and raised in Berlin, has come to be known for his political paintings, though he would mostly abandon dealing with issues of his day in works made later in his career. In the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power, Grosz used his work to put forward his anti-Nazi stance. Grosz only narrowly managed to escape being arrested by the Nazis, and eventually managed to emigrate to the United States several years before World War II broke out.
Das kleine Grosz Museum will open in the Bülowstrasse neighborhood in a converted gas station from the 1950s. According to a statement released by the museum, the gas station is located at the heart of where Grosz grew up as a young artist. The museum will also be positioned not far from the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin’s most prominent modern art museum.
So far, 10 temporary exhibitions diving into little known aspects of Grosz’s artistic career are planned for the coming five years. The first exhibition, “Gross Before Grosz,” will explore the first first stages of his artistic life in the years before he changed his name. (Grosz had changed his name, which was previously spelled with German letters, as a protest during World War I.) For now, the Museum is only planning to open for five years, though there are hopes that if the exhibitions are well received the Museum could become permanent.