Who will win the War in Spain?
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George Grosz

Who will win the War in Spain?

GMT Galerie Marc Triebold

Date 1937

Period 20th century

Dimension 59.5 x 46.2 cm (23³/₈ x 18¹/₄ inches)

Framed dimension cm (29¹/₂ x 23⁵/₈ inches)

The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War following the military coup led by General Franco against the government of the Spanish Republic on 18 July 1936 and the suppression of the uprising by the population in large parts of Spain triggered a wave of solidarity among the world's left-wing public, especially among German emigrants. With Hitler and Mussolini intervening on Franco's side, Spain became a symbol for the fight against fascism and for the defence of democracy and freedom par excellence.

With the support of the Republican troops from the Soviet Union, the civil war soon became a proxy war. Thousands of volunteers from more than ten European countries joined the International Brigades of the Spanish Republic. 

The hope of defeating Franco (and thus Hitler) in Spain and thus putting a stop to the spread of fascism in Europe remained until a few months before the end of the war on 1 April 1939. Thousands of refugees from Spain, both civilians and soldiers, who made their way to France as defeat loomed, were interned by the French government in collection centres such as St. Cyprien, Gurs and Le Vernet. The collection centres soon developed into penal camps in which mainly Spanish fighters from all European countries were held. Many of them were transferred to German concentration camps from July 1941.

In 1932, Grosz accepted a teaching position at the Art Students League in New York for several months. During this time, the decision to emigrate matured and Grosz left Germany just a few weeks before the National Socialists came to power, and although he was recognised by the American art scene as one of the most important contemporary artists, Grosz was unable to make a living from selling his paintings, as abstract art dominated the art market. Grosz continued to earn a living as a lecturer at the Art Students League, the Sterne-Grosz School run by the painter Maurice Sterne, his own public school in Douglaston, Long Island and at Columbia University.

Grosz dealt with events in Europe from afar: the persecution and murder of fellow travellers such as Erich Mühsam found their way into his portfolio ‘Interregnum’. The Second World War, the Spanish Civil War and the nuclear threat became the trigger for scenes of war and apocalyptic visions of doom.

Date: 1937

Period: 20th century

Signature: Signed and inscribed ‘who will win the war in Spain’ on the lower edge and on the verso, estate number  4-73-4

Dimension: 59.5 x 46.2 cm (23³/₈ x 18¹/₄ inches)

Provenance: Estate George Grosz, Berlin

Exhibition: never exhibited

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GMT Galerie Marc Triebold

19th to 21st Century paintings, sculptures, works on paper and prints. German Expressionism, Modern, internationally significant Contemporary Art, Katsushika Hokusai

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