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God of War

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




George Grosz
American, born Germany, 1893-1959

About this artwork

Produced in New York during the early years of World War II, this painting personifies Germany as Mars, the God of War. Here, the deity appears as a Nazi soldier decorated with a laurel wreath and feathers, his hand raised as if in salute to Hitler.

The artist, George Grosz, had a long history of political and social engagement. As early as the 1920s, he and other young artists in Germany began to produce works that critiqued the shortcomings of the Weimar Republic, the country’s first democratically elected government. When the Nazi Party became a mass movement, Grosz recognized that his work would lose political efficacy and become subject of censorship; he immigrated to New York in 1932. In 1936, watching the continued rise of European fascism from afar, he began depicting allegorical, antimilitaristic scenes in drawings and watercolors. Painted in 1940 God of War continues the themes explores in these earlier depictions.


Currently Off View


Modern Art


George Grosz


God of War

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


verso: signed, dated, and labeled "George Grosz/ 1940/ Douglaston" "George Grosz Estate" stamp and estate number 1-11-3


119.5 × 90 cm (47 × 35 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Promised Gift of Robert J. Buford

Reference Number

Obj: 241048

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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