Rudolf Grossmann Biography

Rudolf Grossmann




Rudolph Grossmann, painter, printmaker, and portraitist, was born in Freiburg, Germany, on January 25, 1882. His family included a court painter grandfather, Wilhelm Dürr; and his mother, Marie Grossman, was a portrait painter. He began his formal art education in painting and printmaking at Dusseldorf Academy followed by study in Paris under Lucien Simon and Poulerauce. Though Berlin was his home, he would frequently visit France both to work and exhibit as well as a brief stint teaching printmaking. During his time in France he met and became friends with artists Georg Grosz and Jules Pascin, and helped launch the career of his student, the artist Sonia Delauney. Grossman and Pascin traveled frequently in the 1910s before Grossman settled once again in Berlin, where he married Maria Becker in 1919.

Among his most noted works are various portrait drawings he created of celebrities, particularly those published in the satirical periodical Simplicissimus and was also known for his book illustrations. He focused on figurative works and city scenes that showed the influence of Cezanne and his compatriot Pascin, working in a loose, delicate linework. From 1928 until the rise of Hitler's Nazi party, he taught at Berlin's Royal School of Art and was a member of the Berlin Secession and the Deutscher Kunstlerbund. In 1934 his artwork, along with that of many of his peers, was labeled "degenerate" and seized by the Nazi geovernment, and he was effectively disenfranchised as a professional. He retired to Freiberg im Beisgau soon thereafter, where he died on November 28, 1941. 

Grossmann began publishing his prints in 1905, and many major publishers in both Germany and France commissioned his work. Grossman's prints, drawings, and painting are included in various collections and museums internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Art Institute of Chicago.