George Grosz was born in Berlin, Germany, in the Pomeranian town of Stolp. From a young age Grosz was urged by his cousin to attend weekly drawing classes taught by a local painter. This helped to develop his skills and he began to draw meticulous copies of imaginary battle scenes, as well as the drinking scenes by Eduard von Grützner. From 1909 to 1911, Grosz studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and would later continue his studies at the Berlin College of Arts and Crafts. In 1916, after being discharged from the military service , Grosz changed the spelling of his name as a protest against German nationalism and out of a romantic enthusiasm for America, an enthusiasm that originated in his early reading of the books of Karl May and James Fenimore Cooper. In the last months of 1918, Grosz joined the Spartacist League, renamed the Communist Party of Germany, and years later was accused of insulting the army, which resulted in the destruction of his collection "Gott mit uns" or "God with us," a satire on German society. He was later prosecuted in 1928 for blasphemy after publishing anticlerical drawings.
In 1932 Grosz accepted an invitation to teach the summer semester at the Art Students League of New York, and immigrated with his family to America in 1933, making their home in Bayside, New York. He continued to exhibit regularly and in 1950 was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academian and, 1954 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
For most of his career, Grosz worked in a style influenced by Expressionism and Futurism, as well as by popular illustration, graffiti and children's drawings. His sharply outlined forms are often treated as if transparent, and his drawings, usually in pen and ink then developed further in watercolor, had excellent draftsmanship with a deliberately crude form of caricature. When in the United States, Grosz rejected caricature and painted conventional nudes and landscape watercolors, assuming a more sentimental tone. Today his work is in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Tate in London.