ca 1930-35. An evocative New York street scene, typical of Groth's social-realist work of the Depression era. Though best remembered as a wartime sketch-artist and book illustrator (he produced a number of titles for The Limited Editions Club, including the widely-praised LEC edition of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front ), Groth began his career as a printmaker and cartoonist very much in the social-realist mold, publishing some of his earliest work in such left-wing forums as The New Masses and PM. He was also the first Art Director at Esquire, which was founded in 1933. Groth's mastery as a printmaker is on display in these early works, which manage to convey a simultaneous sense of urgency and delicacy which would become the hallmark of his battlefield sketches made during WW2 and the Korean War.
Groth's Depression-era work has remained scarce in the marketplace, with only a few examples of his social-realist prints at auction in the past twenty years. The current example is from Groth's personal archive, which we acquired in 2013. Original drypoint etching. Sheet size 22.5cm x 29.5cm (ca 9" x 11-1/2"); image area 18cm x 24.5cm. Signed in plate, lower right; titled and signed in pencil in lower margin. No edition stated (artist's proof?). Very faint soiling at margins; Near Fine.