Alfred Kubin (Austrian, 1877–1959) was a printmaker, writer, and illustrator associated with Symbolism and Expressionism. Born in Bohemia, Kubin served as an apprentice to landscape photographer Alois Beer, before enrolling in the Munich Academy in 1899. Though he didn’t finish his studies, during his time in Munich, he was exposed to works by some of the most important artists of the day, including Edvard Munch, James Ensor, and Henry de Groux.

In particular, the aquatint technique used by Francisco de Goya and printmaker, painter, and sculptor Max Klinger influenced his early artistic development. His ink and wash drawings from this period are characterized by Symbolist themes and their inclusion of deformed figures and fantastical monsters. By 1910, he had limited his artistic output to pen and ink drawings, watercolors, and lithographs, and continued to create dark and macabre images.

In 1911, he became associated with the Expressionist group Der Blaue Riter, and exhibited works alongside Paul Klee and Franz Marc at the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin in 1913.

Over the course of his career, Kubin illustrated more than 70 books by renowned authors, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1930, he became a member of the Akademie der Preußischen Künste in Berlin, and, in 1937, became a professor. From 1949 until his death, he was a member of the Bayrische Akademie der Schönen Künste. In 1951, he was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize for Visual Art. He then went on to win an Austrian Medal for Science and Art in 1957.

Despite his success, the artist lived a relatively secluded life, and died at his home in Zwickledt at the age of 82.

Today his works are included in numerous international collections, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Harvard University Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Timeline

1877
Born in Leitmeritz, Austria-Hungary
1892–1896
Apprenticed with photographer in Klagenfurt, Austria
1899
Began artistic training in Munich, Germany
1906
Moved to Zwickledt, Austria
1911
Exhibited with Der Blaue Reiter in Munich, Germany
1959
Died in Zwickledt, Austria

Exhibitions

1999
Alfred Kubin: Das lithographische Werk, Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum Linz
1990
Klinger, Kollwitz, Kubin, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1986
Vienne 1880-1938, Centre Pompidou Paris, France
1985
Traum und Wirklichkeit, Künstlerhaus Vienna, Austria
1985
Alfred Kubin: Der Traum vom Böhmerwald, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg Germany
1984
Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1983
Alfred Kubin: Visions from the Other Side, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1981
Austria's Expressionism, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1977
Alfred Kubin zum 100, Geburtstag, Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz Wasserburg Haus Kemnade
1975
Alfred Kubin Zeichnungen 1920 bis 1954, Galerie im Taxispalais Innsbruck
1969
Creative Austria-20th Century, Philadelphia Civic Center Philadelphia, PA
1969
Alfred Kubin: Gedächtnisausstellung zum 10, Todestag des Künstlers, Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum Linz
1964
Austrian Expressionists, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1963
Viennesse Expressionism 1910-24, University of California Berkeley, CA
1941
Alfred Kubin: Master of Drawing, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1924
Alfred Kubin, Neue Galerie Vienna, Austria
1924
10th exhibition of the Munich Secession, Munich Secession Munich, Germany
1921
Alfred Kubin, Galerie Haus Goltz Munich, Germany
1912
2nd exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter, Galerie Haus Goltz Munich, Germany
1902
Alfred Kubin, Galerie Paul Cassirer Berlin, Germany