Lot 302
  • 302

ALFRED KUBIN | Nach der Schlacht (After the Battle)

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
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  • Alfred Kubin
  • Nach der Schlacht (After the Battle)
  • signed Kubin (lower left) and again faintly AKubin (lower right) and titled (lower left); with the Max Morgenstern Collection Stamp on the verso
  • pen and ink, wash and Spritztechnik on Kataster paper
  • image: 14.1 by 20.8cm., 5 1/2 by 8 1/4 in.
  • sheet: 19.7 by 31.3cm., 7 3/4 by 12 3/8 in.
  • Executed circa 1902-03.


Maximilian (Max) & Hertha Morgenstern, Vienna (acquired directly from the artist)
Dr. Kurt Otte, Hamburg (acquired from the above in June 1938)
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (acquired from the above in 1971)
Restituted by the above to the heirs of Max & Hertha Morgenstern in 2019


Vienna, Albertina Wien, Alfred Kubin, Handzeichnungen, Aquarelle und druckgraphische Arbeiten, 1937, no. 34
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle; Munich, Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste & Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Alfred Kubin, Das zeichnerische Frühwerk bis 1904, 1977, no. 68
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus & Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Alfred Kubin 1877-1959, 1990-91, no. 63, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from 1901)
Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste & Hamburg, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Eine Liebe. Max Klinger und die Folgen, Bielefeld, 2007-08, no. 68, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Lenbachhaus & Vienna, Albertina Wien, Der Blaue Reiter, Tanz der Farben, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik aus dem Lenbachhaus, 2010-11, no. 135, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (as dating from circa 1900-01)


Hans von Weber (ed.), Facsimiledrucke nach Kunstblättern von Alfred Kubin, Munich, 1903, illustration of the portfolio version pl. 10
Ferdinand Avenarius, Traum Bildnerei. Das Kunstwart, 1903, p. 595
Edgar Alfred Regener, 'Die Kunst unserer Tage, VI Alfred Kubin' in Deutsche Zeitschrift, 5th Edition, issue 11, 1903
Alfred Kubin zum 125. Geburtstag
(exhibition catalogue), Pinzgau, Badhaus zu Leogang, 2002, n.n., illustration of the portfolio version n.p.
Phantastisch! Alfred Kubin und der Blaue Reiter (exhibition catalogue), Munich, Lenbachhaus, 2018, illustration of the portfolio version p. 218


Please note that there is a professional condition report for this work, please contact mariella.salazar@sothebys.com to request a copy.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

‘Just as Goya appeared a unique phenomenon in his time, Alfred Kubin has become an artistic philosopher on the basis of his own unique world view, making him an extremely pessimistic caricaturist of our time and its excesses. Kubin’s works represent the sharpest, most poisonous epigrams on the condition of the State, the Church, Life, Love and Death, Fame and Honour’ (quoted in Alfred Kubin. Aus Meinem Reich. Meisterblättern aus dem Leopold Museum, Wien (exhibition catalogue), Leopold Museum, Vienna, 2002-03, p. 30).

One of the greatest draughtsman of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Alfred Kubin’s narratives continue to fascinate viewers today as they did when they were first conceived. A founding member of Der Blaue Reiter, he shared the group’s endeavour to elevate art to a spiritual plane. He was close friends with Paul Klee and corresponded with artists and philosophers of his day, yet always he followed his own artistic path. A visionary who expressed modernity’s spiritual toll, Kubin excelled in conveying the sense of twilight and the feeling of lurking fate. 

In his autobiography, writing about his engagement with Schopenhauer’s philosophy, Kubin states: ‘In my desperate mood I found his pessimistic Weltanschauung the only correct one, and I revelled in his ideas – with the consequence that my universal discontent only grew greater’ (A. Kubin, The Life and Art of Alfred Kubin, 1917, p. 13). Like the Symbolist artists Odilon Redon, Max Klinger and Félicien Rops, Kubin was inspired by the philosophy of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and the literature of Dostoyevsky and Poe, which offered countless points of departure for artists who agonized over the human condition. These characteristic drawings are some of the most esteemed of Kubin’s entire œuvre; they demonstrate his mastery over the medium of ink, which powerfully reflect the realms of his subconscious and nightmarish visions of doom, darkness and destiny.

In 1901 Alfred Kubin met the publisher Hans von Weber in Munich who immediately expressed admiration for Kubin’s work and in subsequent years became an important supporter. The Hans von Weber portfolio, also known as the Weber-Mappe, reproduced 15 works on paper in an edition of 1,000, which allowed a wider distribution of Kubin’s work, ultimately resulting in his artistic breakthrough.  Two further portfolios, one on the topic of women, the other on church and state, were envisioned but never realised as the material was deemed too controversial and provocative.

The present work, Nach der Schlacht is part of this infamous Weber-Mappe. Using black and white contrasts as well as the softening effect of Spritztechnik to the greatest possible effect Kubin presents a chilling scene - a flock of vultures descending on a deserted battlefield.

In his own biography Daemons and Night Faces, published in 1959, Kubin recalls how coming face to face with Max Klinger’s narrative sequence of etchings Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove at the Graphische Sammlung, Munich in 1899, greatly inspired him. The surreal clarity of Klinger’s detailed illustrations, inspired by the literature and art of his contemporary romantics, came as a revelation to the young artist and brought on visions of black-and-white images from which he derived the peculiar expressive vocabulary of his nightmarish-fantastic early work. Other influences include the work of Francisco de Goya whose work The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters from his Caprichos series immediately comes to mind, evoking the rise of mysterious and monstrous forces at the expense of reason. The present work is a beautiful example for how Kubin tried to replicate in drawing the effects of printmaking: Spritztechnik achieved an effect similar to aquatint etching, the ink border reminiscent of the plate edge. Meticulously executed ink drawings became Kubin’s medium of choice to examine contemporary social issues as well as scenes from his own imagination. The medium was perfectly suited to explore his subjective view of the world, the dark side of life.

This work is recorded in the Kubin Archiv at the Lenbachhaus, Munich under no. 194.