Alfred Kubin (Leitmeritz/Böhmen 1877

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Alfred Kubin (Leitmeritz/Böhmen 1877
Alfred Kubin (Leitmeritz/Böhmen 1877 - Zwickledt bei Wernstein am Inn 1959)
Snakes in the city
1911
Pen and ink on katasterpaper (land register paper)
31.3 x 38.9 cm
Alfred Kubin’s drawings related to the Sansara portfolio are characterized by expressive, elongated figures, a mass
of detail and a bird’s-eye perspective, which presents a panorama of grotesque and threatening antics in the world.
These drawings were influenced by his fellow artists from Der Blaue Reiter in Munich – Kubin had been invited to
contribute to their almanac projects – and especially by the close exchange between Kubin and Paul Klee over
these years. Snakes in the City shows nature invading mankind’s technology-dominated world, as Kubin had
comprehensively described in his novel Die andere Seite, which was published in 1909. Hideous scenes of conflict
contrast with images of people who are apparently oblivious to the turmoil. The mass of soldiers at the centre and
the fire brigade in the foreground seem startled by the pandemonium and their efficiency goes unnoticed. In
hindsight, these images have a visionary quality, considering the outbreak of the First World War just a few years
later.
Peter Assmann
Provenance:
private collection, Vienna
Exhibitions :
2. Ausstellung Blauer Reiter, 1912
Literature:
Paul Raabe: Alfred Kubin. Leben, Werk, Wirkung. Rowohlt Verlag. Hamburg 1957, ill. p. 37, cf. print p. 76, cat. rais.
no. 34. – Helmut Friedel, Annegret Hoberg (ed.): Der Blaue Reiter. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik aus
dem Lenbachhaus. Ein Tanz in Farben. exh. cat. Albertina. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau,
Munich. Hirmer Verlag 2010, p. 184. - Peter Assmann (ed.): Alfred Kubin (1877 – 1959). Mit einem
Werkverzeichnis des Bestandes im Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum. Oö. Ladengalerie. - Residenz Verlag.
St. Pölten 1995, cf. print Sansara portfoilio, p. 92. - Alfred Kubin, W&K Edition 2014, exh.cat. Shepherd W&K
Galleries New York p. 77.

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