The Wanderer, by George Grosz

The Wanderer, oilpainting by George Grosz

Grosz was born in Berlin in 1893. On the outbreak of the First World War he volunteered for the German Army. In 1915 he was released as unfit for duty. However, in 1917, desperate for soldiers, Grosz was conscripted again. Kept from frontline action, Grosz was used to transport and guard prisoners of war. After trying to commit suicide in 1917, he was send to an army hospital. Then he was court-martialed for insubordination and sentenced to death. One of his patrons, Count Kessler, saved him from execution. Grosz was now diagnosed as suffering from shell-shock and was discharged from the German Army. He became a famous expressionist painter. In 1933 he fled from Hitler to the USA. Still haunted by his war experiences he painted The Wanderer in 1943. Grosz returned to Germany in 1959, saying "My American dream turned out to be a soap bubble", and died the same year.