ca 1930-35. A spectacular large print demonstrating Groth's early mastery of aquatint technique -- a Bowery street scene peopled with the ghost-like figures of Depression-era down-and-outers, typical of Groth's social-realist work during the Great Depression. 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 aquatint. Sheet size 49.5cm x 67.5cm (ca 19-3/4" x 26-1/2"); image area 45cm x 61cm. Signed and numbered (1/50) in pencil, lower right, titled lower left. Slight soil to verso and to margins; a strong, clear and clean impression.