The Blue Rider




Alfred Kubin

Alfred Kubin (1877 – 1959), a native of Bohemia, had already completed a three-year training program in photography and an aborted stint in military service when he moved to Munich to study art in 1898. He was briefly enrolled at the Academy; Max Klinger’s cycle of etchings Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove inspired visions of black-and-white images in him from which he derived the peculiar expressive vocabulary of his nightmarish-fantastic early work. His art quickly attracted the attention of writers in Schwabing’s Bohemian circles like Max Dauthendey and Otto Julius Biermann; the Hans von Weber portfolio with phototypes of his provocative pen-and-ink drawings, published in 1903, brought him wider renown. In 1904, Wassily Kandinsky invited him to contribute to the ninth exhibition of the artists’ association Phalanx. In 1906, Kubin left the city for the seclusion of Zwickledt, a tiny village in Upper Austria, where, until 1908, his art went through a phase of fundamental reorientation; his novel Die andere Seite (The Other Side) came out in 1909 with illustrations by the author. That same year, he joined the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, although he remained at Zwickledt, and took part in the group’s first two exhibitions. In December 1911, he became a member of the newly founded Blue Rider group and contributed to its second exhibition. In the second half of his life, Kubin created an extensive oeuvre as a book illustrator and designer of numerous portfolios, among other genres. The Lenbachhaus acquired the Kubin archive built by the Hamburg-based collector Dr. Kurt Otte in 1971. In addition to many works by Alfred Kubin, the archive comprises his considerable correspondence with writers and artists of the avant-garde.

Kubin Archive