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George Grosz and the necessity of offence

Satirist and provocateur, Grosz's impetus for moral outrage, which was immediately picked up by the Berlin avant-garde, still resonates today.

By Wessie du Toit  

Berlin during the 1920s is often seen as an oasis for libertines, glittering between two authoritarian periods: the Wilhelmine Reich, with its bloody culmination in the First World War, and the rise of the Nazis. The era is kept alive by enduring images of political assassinations and barricades, the banknote-littered streets of hyperinflation, transvestism and open displays of homosexuality. Brecht was at the theatre, Dietrich in the cinema, Dada in the galleries, and WH Auden chasing…

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