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George Grosz (American, b. Germany, 1893-1959)
Eclipse of the Sun, 1926
Oil on canvas, 81-5/8 x 71-7/8 in.
Signed and dated on verso: Grosz / 1926.
Museum Purchase.††1968.1

To protect the artistís copyright, this image is sized according to generally accepted fair use standards.

About This Work

Eclipse of the Sun presents a scathing critique of the military industrial complex that controlled Weimar Germany where power and greed reigned supreme. Bureaucrats, who are literally "mindless," attend to the corrupt dealings of the corpulent industrialist and the President of the Reich, Paul von Hindenburg. The sun, a symbol of life, is eclipsed by a dollar sign, a symbol of greed. The donkey, representing the German burgher, has blinders on to signify his ignorance. A small child, representing youth or perhaps a dissident voice, is kept imprisoned below, demonstrating the lack of concern for future generations. The convoluted perspective of the image underscores the instability of Weimar Germany.

George Grosz was the leader of the Berlin Dada movement in the 1920s. He moved to the United States in 1933 and lived in Huntington from 1947 until shortly before his death. Grosz taught art at the Heckscher Museum of Art under the auspices of the Huntington Township Art League and he was an instrumental influence in the full-time reopening of the museum after World War II.

Eclipse of the Sun is the most significant painting in a public collection on Long Island and one of the masterpieces of twentieth century art.

Kid-Friendly Information

Why do you think this painting is called Eclipse of the Sun? Can you find the eclipse? This painting is full of symbols. What is a symbol? What symbol is in the middle of the eclipse? George Grosz used symbols to express how he felt about the government in Germany after WWI. Look carefully at the people in this painting. What jobs do you think these men have? Who do you think is in charge? Who might really be the one in charge? What do you see that makes you say that? The men at the table symbolize the government. What is wrong with them? Why do you think Grosz painted them headless? What do you think he is saying about them? Can you find these other symbols: skeleton? donkey? trapped boy? sword? What might these symbols stand for? How do you think George Grosz felt about the government?


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