A Glimpse into the Negro Section of Dallas


George Grosz ( American, born Germany, 1893 - 1959 )

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General Description

The neon lights of Dallas's Theater Row led northeast along Elm Street to Deep Ellum (or Deep Elm), the primary business and entertainment district of African American Dallas. These two adjacent stretches of Elm Street were separated by an invisible barrier of segregation, but one that remained permeable. During his time in Dallas, George Grosz must have found an occasion to explore firsthand the nightlife of Deep Ellum, which he recorded in A Glimpse into the Negro Section of Dallas, one of the most sensuously painted watercolors in the Impressions of Dallas series he created in 1952. Grosz combines saturated, wet passages of color in the faces with crisper, drier brushwork to describe the texture of hair, mascaraed eyelashes, and straw fedoras. He captures the nocturnal setting and the effect of artificial lighting on the heavily made-up faces of the women and the shadowed sidelong glances of the men.

Adapted from

Heather MacDonald, Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2012), 66.

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