The George Grosz Estate and a group of private citizens are planning to open a museum in May devoted to the artist in a former petrol station in Berlin, the city in which he was born and died.
While Grosz (1893-1959) is one of the best-known artists Berlin has produced, there is no museum dedicated to his work in the German capital. On the initiative of Ralph Jentsch, the managing director of the Grosz estate and editor of the artist’s catalogue raisonné, the George Grosz in Berlin association was founded in 2015 to increase his presence in the city.
The museum, initially planned to operate for five years, is called Das kleine Grosz Museum (The Little Grosz Museum—also a play on words, as Grosz sounds like the German word for big.) With Jentsch as its chairman, it will be housed in a 1950s petrol station that was converted into a home by the art dealer Juerg Judin in 2008. It is located in Bülowstrasse, not far from the Neue Nationalgalerie. Judin is handing over the building to the museum, which will also house a café and shop.
The funding for the museum comes from private Berlin sponsors, says Pay Matthis Karstens, who will serve as a curator. In addition to a permanent exhibition, ten temporary exhibitions are planned over the next five years, with loans from Grosz’s family and estate and from private collectors, Karstens says.
“It is not our intention to compete with other Berlin museums for state funding,” he says. “We will work with private funds. We hope Berliners will be enthusiastic and it may become permanent.”
The first exhibition, Gross Before Grosz, will focus on Grosz’s early years as an artist, when he was still known as Georg Ehrenfried Gross. Each of the ten exhibitions will address a different, under-examined aspect of his career and will be accompanied by a catalogue, the founders said in a statement.
“In keeping with the controversial personality of Grosz, the museum is intended to promote a lively exchange between generations and political camps and to face the social challenges of the present,” the statement said.