ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)
ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)
ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)
ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE DEUTSCHE BANK COLLECTION
ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)

Ungeheuer auf dem Hügel (Teufel mit der Posaune)

ALFRED KUBIN (1877-1959)
Ungeheuer auf dem Hügel (Teufel mit der Posaune)
signed ‘AKubin’ (lower right)
watercolour, crayon, pencil, India ink and pen and ink on paper
8 3⁄8 x 8 3⁄4 in. (21.3 x 22.3 cm.)
Executed circa 1903
Galerie Jean Claude Gaubert, Paris.
Galerie Michael Hasenclever, Munich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 12 February 1991.
Paris, Galerie J.C. Gaubert, Idéalistes et Symbolistes, October - December 1973, no. 42, p. 52 (illustrated p. 53; titled 'Le diable sur la colline lavis').
Paris, Galerie J.C. Gaubert, Kubin, June - July 1974, no. 38, p. 74 (illustrated p. 75; titled 'Le diable sur la colline lavis').
Frankfurt am Main, Schirn Kunsthalle, Auf Papier, Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus der Deutschen Bank, March - April 1995, p. 186 (illustrated p. 187); this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Berlinischen Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Photographie und Architektur, May - July 1995; and Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste, August - September 1995.
Passau, Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Wörlen, Landschaften eines Jahrhunderts, Sammlung Deutsche Bank, February - April 2000, p. 275 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Lübeck, Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck, St. Annen Museum, May - June 2000; Duisburg, Museum Küppersmühle, June - October 2000; Offenburg, Kunstverein und Städtische Galerie, October - November 2000; Oldenburg, Landesmuseum, January - March 2001; Aschaffenburg, Jesuitenkirche, April – June 2001; Augsburg, Toskanische Säulenhalle im Zeughaus und Foyer-Galerie, June - July 2001; Alzey, Bruggrafiat, October - November 2001; St. Inbert Museum, February - April 2002; and Kapstadt, National Gallery, August - November 2002.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Alfred Kubin took his inspiration for this work from his inner world, which he translated as pieces of art. Haunted by fantastic and nightmarish visions, much of Kubin’s oeuvre foresees unimaginable and unprecedented scenes of hell and the end of humanity on Earth, which would soon become real on Europe’s battlefields. The artist’s unease and foresight is readily apparent in his 1909 illustrated novel Die Andere Seite (‘The Other Side’) ‘a dystopian-apocalyptic account of an ultra-conservative, supranational state [which can] of course be seen as an allegorical critique of the Habsburg Empire, and as a prescient anticipation of its immediate end’ (J. Hughes, ‘Modernity and Ambivalence in Alfred Kubin’s “Die Andere Seite”’, in Austrian Studies, vol. 15, Austrian Satire and Other Essays, 2007, p. 81).
Drawn six years before the publication of Die Andere Seite, the present work’s titular giant or devil, a shadowy combination of bird and man, seems to be a harbinger of imminent catastrophe. Cresting the hill with legs outstretched, he appears poised to lope down the precipitous slope into the sleeping town below. Oddly elongated, he is rendered with countless fine, directional pen lines, emphasising his momentum. He holds a war trumpet with which to shatter the silence of the night. Hokusai’s iconic print The Great Wave of Kanagawa are almost recalled in the looming form of the hill, juxtapositions of scale, and sense of a huge weight about to succumb to gravity.
Measuring just over 20 square centimetres, this work displays a balance between unsettling subject matter and wonderfully fine execution which is characteristic of Kubin. Various media including watercolour, crayon, pencil and ink are layered to achieve a delicate, speckled texture which exquisitely evokes the gloom of night. The drawing rewards close observation in spades – the subtle blue touches on the left side of the hill, for example, bring further drama and depth to the scene. Kubin was successfully able to translate some of these subtleties (albeit in monochrome) to the printed page. It is notable that he motif of the giant was repeated in other drawings from the period, reproduced in etching with aquatint, these prints being reproduced more widely in the 1903 album Facsimiledrucke nach Kunstblättern von Alfred Kubin.

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