Georg Scholz - Newspaper carrier or "Work disgraces"

by Alexandra Tuschka

Father and son, scrawny and disconsolate, trot out of the picture to the left with their newspapers under their arms - the "Tagblatt" of the "Badische Morgenpost". Opposite them, a car painted in strong red with a no less strong gentleman drives out of the right part of the picture. He is obviously wealthy. He is obviously well-to-do, dressed in a hat, monocle, leather coat and bow tie, and is also holding a cigar in his hand - a pure luxury product. Since the end of the 19th century, the automobile has gradually replaced carriages, and a fancy car like the one we see here can be compared to a modern-day Porsche. In contrast, the two people on the left are on foot, haggard and unkempt. You can still see a patch on the old man's jacket. The profile view of both allows for hard edges. The father lowers his gaze, the child looks wordlessly straight ahead. An industrial chimney with black smoke marks a vertical line separating the figures. These compositional contrasts - expressed through the direction, part of the picture, colouring, sizes and also depth of the picture - illustrate the social divide of the post-war years 1920/21, in which the picture was created. Scholz used them deliberately.

The figures are strongly exaggerated. The fat rich man in particular has become quite similar to a pig. You can see his nostrils from below, the protruding teeth and the plump lips. The chin disappears into the fold of bacon. The physiognomy of the other two also looks type-like. So we are not dealing with a realistic depiction, but with a symbolic image of society. On the one hand, there is a representative of the capitalist exploiter, mostly from the industrial upper class, who knows how to exploit the circumstances of post-war society. This one is not modest at all, but gawks insolently and proudly from his vehicle. Opposite him, the losers of society. What story brought the man to this "job" is not made clear. Only the harsh reality is given a place here. The bleakness is further emphasised by the sketchy surroundings with chimneys, factories and gas storage facilities.

Scholz can thus clearly be regarded as a painter of the "Neue Sachlichkeit" (New Objectivity), which thematised social realism and made workers, entrepreneurs, soldiers, light girls and similar "big city figures" their protagonists. Like George Grosz, Scholz also used his painting as a voice against injustice. For the First World War and the collapse of all the old systems brought about a new, less than just order. The term, however, only came into being in 1923 when the director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Gustav Hartlaub, was looking for artists who had painted "neither impressionistically dissolved, nor expressionistically abstract, neither purely sensual externally, nor purely constructive internally" in the last ten years. He coined this term. Scholz contributed several works - along with many other greats such as Max Beckmann and Otto Dix.

Scholz had also served in World War I and developed a sober world view. In 1919 he was a founding member of the artist group RIH, which was still close to Dadaism and Cubism. He earned his living for many years with designs for cigar boxes, advertisements and illustrations for children's books. In 1930 he received a professorship, but lost it again in 1933 when the National Socialists came to power. It was obvious that his overly strong social criticism was counted as "degenerate art". Scholz lived in economic and health hardship and great fear until the end of the war. Then, in 1945, he was appointed mayor of Waldkirch by the French occupying power - because of his political attitudes; however, he died of heart failure only 40 days later.

Georg Scholz - Newspaper carrier or "Work disgraces"

Watercolour and black chalk, 1920/1921, 39.9 × 49.0 cm, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

Georg Scholz - Of things to come

Oil painting, 74.9 x 96.9 cm, 1922, location unknown