In 1952 George Grosz, the expatriate German dadaist and satirist, was invited to Dallas by Leon Harris, Jr., the young vice president of the Harris and Company department store. Harris had commissioned Grosz to create a series of paintings illustrating the landscape, economy, and society of Dallas for the store’s 65th anniversary celebrations. Grosz’s series, called Impressions of Dallas, was exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in Fair Park in October 1952 and then in New York in 1954, but have since remained almost forgotten.
In 2012 on the 60th anniversary of the series’ first presentation at the DMFA, the Dallas Museum of Art will present Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas. The exhibition will feature twenty works from the series, accompanied by a rich selection of historic photographs of Dallas, documenting the city as Grosz discovered it in 1952. The exhibition will also examine the context for the Impressions of Dallas series with twelve of Grosz’s works made earlier in his career, including graphic work and watercolors made in Berlin in the 1920s and early 1930s, and paintings and watercolors made in New York during the late 1930s and 1940s.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the Dallas Museum of Art's first e-catalogue, an electronic publication describing the history of Grosz’s Dallas paintings. The catalogue, featuring an essay by exhibition curator Heather MacDonald and additional contributions by Andrew Sears, will describe Grosz’s career in the postwar years, relate the history of the Impressions of Dallas commission, and offer a rich portrait of Dallas in the early 1950s. The catalogue will reproduce the Impressions of Dallas series in its entirety for the first time, and will also illustrate many other paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints by Grosz, as well as many historic photographs of Dallas.