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Alfred Kubin

Austrian, 1877–1959

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Alfred Kubin

Austrian, 1877–1959

583
Followers
Biography

Alfred Kubin’s haunting illustrations, watercolors, and lithographs of symbol-laden fantasy worlds are said to have presaged the horrors of WWI. Death, parenthood, sexuality, the unconscious, and explicit and violent portrayals of women as femmes fatales are recurring motifs in his oeuvre. Originating in his own imagination and traumatic life experiences, the nightmarish imagery also stems from writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Edgar Allen Poe, many of which Kubin illustrated. Stylistically linked with Symbolism and Expressionism and known for a delicate, atmospheric ink wash technique, Kubin was influenced by the macabre aquatints of Francisco de Goya, Odilon Redon, James Ensor, and Max Klinger. However, he shifted to producing frenetically rendered, reality-based drawings with watercolor accents, sparked by a realization that life’s mysteries “lie not only in the bizarre, exalted, or comic moments...but [also in] the painful, the indifferent, and the incidental commonplace.”

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Biography

Alfred Kubin’s haunting illustrations, watercolors, and lithographs of symbol-laden fantasy worlds are said to have presaged the horrors of WWI. Death, parenthood, sexuality, the unconscious, and explicit and violent portrayals of women as femmes fatales are recurring motifs in his oeuvre. Originating in his own imagination and traumatic life experiences, the nightmarish imagery also stems from writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Edgar Allen Poe, many of which Kubin illustrated. Stylistically linked with Symbolism and Expressionism and known for a delicate, atmospheric ink wash technique, Kubin was influenced by the macabre aquatints of Francisco de Goya, Odilon Redon, James Ensor, and Max Klinger. However, he shifted to producing frenetically rendered, reality-based drawings with watercolor accents, sparked by a realization that life’s mysteries “lie not only in the bizarre, exalted, or comic moments...but [also in] the painful, the indifferent, and the incidental commonplace.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Shows Featuring Alfred Kubin