Harvard Art Museums: Carl Grossberg

On View: Carl Grossberg
Harvard Art Museums
Gallery 1520 

August 4th–December 12, 2017 and
December 15, 2017–July 22, 2018

Carl Grossberg, Avus Berlin, 1928. Oil on wood. Collection Merrill C. Berman

Carl Grossberg’s meticulous cityscapes, factories and machine portraits align him with the interwar German art of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), whose artists shared a renewed engagement in realism. He achieved his works’ characteristic verisimilitude and high degree of finish by layering thin glazes of paint with a fine brush, an academic technique he combined with less conventional features to create unsettling images. Distorted space and perspective, expressive shadows, and garish colors produce dreamlike effects compounded by the conspicuous absence of human figures.

Born in 1894 in the German factory town of Elberfeld, Grossberg trained as an architect until the outbreak of World War I. After the war, he studied painting with Lyonel Feininger at the Bauhaus and worked as a successful painter and interior designer. Grossberg’s birthplace and education may have inspired his choice of industrial and architectural subjects, but the detail and beauty of his compositions shows he reveled in the intricate workings of the turbines, pumps and mills he portrayed.

This two-part installation of his works on loan from the Merrill C. Berman Collection is the first monographic presentation of Grossberg’s art in the United States.

Related Programming
Curatorial fellow Melissa Venator will lead lunchtime tours of the exhibition on:
Wednesday, August 30, 12:30pm, and Thursday, November 9, 12:30pm.

Grossberg’s art will also be discussed in the Art Study Seminar “New Objectivity in Germany” on Friday, October 20, 11:00am. For more information, visit the events calendar listing.

Installation views: