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 21cm x 27cm (ca 8-3/8" x 10-5/8"); image area 15cm x 20cm. Monogrammed in plate, lower right; titled and signed in pencil in lower margin. Mounted to hinged gallery mat bearing title, artist's name, and the following notation: "Prairie Print Masters show, Wichita;" with original pencil price of $10. No edition stated (artist's proof?). Mat dusted; print clean and bright, with very faint toning at margins; Near Fine.