A Murder

Accession Number

A Murder

George Grosz

Artist Nationality
German (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
pen and ink with watercolor on wove paper

7 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in. ( 19.05 cm x 21.59 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of the Ernst Pulgram and Frances McSparran Collection

Label copy
George Grosz
Germany, 1893–1959
A Murder
Pen and ink with watercolor on paper
Gift of the Ernst Pulgram and Frances McSparran Collection, 2007/2.110
Anxiety over the city’s changing sexual landscape, brought about by the new social spaces and the erosion of traditional behavioral codes, emerged in the work of many German Expressionists as sexual violence. Grosz drew a series of pictures depicting men brutally murdering women, usually in interior spaces hidden from view. The extra care Grosz took in A Murder to fill in the victim’s face, while leaving her faceless attacker a mere outline of harsh lines, draws our attention to the victim as we become the only witnesses to this private crime.
Many Expressionists, including Grosz, turned this violent streak in their work toward depictions of military violence and war devastation after the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Subject matter
A man in the act of, or shortly after, murdering a woman. Man appears to hold a large ax or hatchet near woman's head. The woman is stretched naked along the floor, her feet resting on an armchair, and her head twisted backward, facing left but upside down. A cloth or throw appears draped over her legs. The woman's face has the greatest amount of detail in the drawing, with shading; most other lines are linear strokes and pen and ink hatchings. The man stands bent over the woman, near her head - his face is lowered, his details or physiognomy unknown.

Physical Description
Pen and ink drawing of nude woman, presumably dead or in the act of dying, stretched between floor and chair, with a man bending over her head and torso. In interior domestic space.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
line drawing

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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interior spaces (spaces by location)
men (male humans)
women (female humans)

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& Author Notes

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