Lot 305
  • 305

ALFRED KUBIN | Des Menschen Schicksal III (The Fate of Mankind III)

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
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  • Alfred Kubin
  • Des Menschen Schicksal III (The Fate of Mankind III)
  • signed AKubin (lower right), titled (lower left) and inscribed spätere Fassung für Morgenstern by another hand (probably by Kurt Otte; lower centre); with the Max Morgenstern Collection Stamp on the verso
  • pen and ink, wash, Spritztechnik and coloured crayons on Kataster paper
  • image: 23.2 by 28.2cm., 9 1/8 by 11in.
  • sheet: 31 by 37.8cm., 12 1/4 by 14 7/8 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. 10
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle; Munich, Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste & Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Alfred Kubin, Das zeichnerische Frühwerk bis 1904, 1977, no. 65.2
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Experiment Weltuntergang, Wien um 1900, 1981, no. 251
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Vienne 1990-1938, L'Apocalypse joyeuse, 1986, n.n., illustrated in the catalogue
Passau, Festspiele Europäische Woche, Kubin und die phantastische Kunst, 1987, no. 3
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus & Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Alfred Kubin 1877-1959, 1990-91, no. 62, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from 1901-03)
New York, Neue Galerie, Alfred Kubin: 1897-1909, 2008-09, no. 55, 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. 134, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (as dating from circa 1901-03)


Hans von Weber (ed.), Facsimiledrucke nach Kunstblättern von Alfred Kubin, Munich, 1903, illustration of the portfolio version pl. 1
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. 216

Catalogue Note

Des Menschen Schicksal III (The Fate of Mankind III) illustrates Kubin's preoccupation with the Symbolist woman as a femme fatale. After losing his beloved mother during childhood, he had a sexual experience with a pregnant woman while he was still just a boy. This incident and his existential angst towards female figures are prominently evoked in the present work in which a faceless woman, completely lacking sensuousness, rakes a pile of men off a cliff. As described by the Austrian art-historian Klaus Albrecht Schröde, 'In Kubin's drawings, it is usually the man who is the victim. The woman embodies the potential to destroy man and life in general... Death gives birth to the life that leads in the end back to death, because the death of the first cell was a failure. Not coincidentally, death is a woman. Around 1900 the fictitious body of the femme fatale became symbolic of the difference between man and woman. With the integration of women into the processes of production, new images of the feminine emerged...the femme fatale derived her horrifying or lascivious appeal from her strangeness. This fundamentally different nature is the precondition of her existence and lent itself to depictions of death as the epitome of the alien and fascinating. The man discovers his own mortality in the woman... This can only be understood as the product of the male fantasy that attributes an exotic special status to woman as an alien being and at the same time denies her civil rights... Sexuality for Kubin was the epitome of the irrational and animalistic... Man and woman never meet as equals. Kubin knows no dominance-free zone between the sexes. Anxiety and depression are fundamental to their relationship.' (Klaus Albrecht Schröde, 'Alfred Kubin; or, the Cruelty of Images' in Alfred Kubin: Drawings 1897-1909 (exhibition catalogue), 2008, p. 51-52). Much of the themes in the work of Rops, Redon, Von Stuck and Moreau, for example, were deeply rooted in the idea of the woman luring the man through deception and sensuality -  a mix of both fear and fascination for the independent woman – indicative of the turn of the century ideas of gender relationships. Woman is not just idolised as a passive figure, portrayed through ideals of beauty, but acts as a central trope of life givers and takers for these turn-of-the-century artists.  

This work is recorded in the Kubin Archiv at the Lenbachhaus, Munich under no. 193.