Grosz, Pascin and Spencer were among the last generation of artists born before the rise of Abstraction. They chose to pursue the figurative tradition since they required a recognizable narrative in order to reveal what they wanted to say. Today, artists with a political conscience have more in common with these artistic predecessors than with the fathers of Abstraction. These 20th Century Masters embraced diverse subjects: social, political and religious. Indeed, they were some of the first artists in history to have complete control over their art and the message they sought to convey.
Current books highlight George Groszĺs time in America during the Second World War. Subsequently, he is being recognized for the drawings and watercolours done during the period. His early, satirical cartoons of pre-war Germany showed a sensitivity for composition and line which he carried throughout his artistic career. Some of his most mature and masterful drawings and watercolours came from his New York period.
Like Grosz and Dix, Jules Pascin's political interests led him to create satirical pieces that appeared in the Parisian media. Though Pascin is best known as a strong figurative artist who portrayed neighbouring prostitutes and dancers, sketches from his adventures to exotic places, like Cuba and New Orleans, form an important part of his work.
Stanley Spencer was one of England's greatest figurative painters and one of the most admired by other artists. An eccentric genius, Spencer held open a paper bag to receive his Order of the British Empire from The Queen. Spencer's influence can be seen in works by contemporary figurative artists including Lucien Freud and Jenny Seville. Spencer considered his imagined narratives among his most important works which is easily understood since they are wonders of both composition and imagination.