Sale: 535 / Evening Sale with Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Dec. 09. 2022 in Munich Lot 30

 

30
Alfred Kubin
Orientalische Phantasie (Türkischer Heerbann), 1904/5.
Carbon pencil and Pen and India ink drawing, pa...
Estimate:
€ 100,000 / $ 92,000
Sold:
€ 100,000 / $ 92,000

(incl. surcharge)
Orientalische Phantasie (Türkischer Heerbann). 1904/5.
Carbon pencil and Pen and India ink drawing, partly washed and white-heightened.
Lower right signed. On off-white paper. 31 x 24.8 cm (12.2 x 9.7 in). [JS].

• Rare "oriental phantasy" by the virtuoso creator of dreamy parallel worlds.
• Wonderfully composed sheet, a prime example of Kubin's graphic genius.
• Mysterious symbiosis of oriental fairy tale and martial menace.
• From the acclaimed Serge Sabarsky Collection, New York.
• Drawings of similar quality are in renowned international collections like the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Leopold Museum, Vienna, the Albertina Vienna and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
.

We are grateful to Dr. Annegret Hoberg, former director of the Kubin Archive at the Lenbachhaus, Munich, for her kind expert advice.

PROVENANCE: Wolfdietrich Hassfurther, Vienna (until March 1987).
Serge Sabarsky Gallery, New York (acquired from the above).

EXHIBITION: Alfred Kubin 1877-1959, Auktionshaus, Galerie und Antiquariat für Kunst und Wissenschaft Wolfdietrich Hassfurther, Vienna, November 13 - December 20, 1986, p. 20, cat. no. 97 (with black-and-white illu plate 27).
From Klimt to Klee: Masterworks from the Serge Sabarsky Collection, Neue Galerie, New York, October 15, 2009 - February 15, 2010.
Alternative Histories: Celebrating 75 Years of Galerie St. Etienne, New York, January 15, 2014 - Aprl 11, 2015.

"The right observer, as I would like him to be, would not only enjoy or critically look at my sheets, but, as if stimulated by a secret touch, would also have to turn his attention to the darkroom of his own dreamy consciousness."
Alfred Kubin, on the occasion of the opening of a Kubin exhibition, 1927, quoted from: Ulrich Riemerschmidt, Alfred Kubin. Aus meiner Werkstatt, Munich 1973, p. 26.

Kubin, especially in his early creative period, was an obsessed drawer of uniquely symbolic, fantastic dream worlds. In his masterfully composed drawings, he often created menacingly fascinating nightmare scenarios or unleashed sexual fantasies in which we encounter fantastic creatures, symbioses of humans and animals in surreal landscapes. In addition to these dark fantasies, Kubin was also obsessed with less menacing fairytale worlds and showed an enthusiasm for the oriental world, to which the present drawing from his early creative period testifies. Kubin's captivating graphic oeuvre remained consistently figurative, but by no means realistic; it is always entirely the product of numerous sources of inspiration from literature coupled with an exuberant artistic imagination. In a letter dated June 14, 1911, Wassily Kandinsky, among others, described the melancholic and unstable disposition of the soul as fundamental to Kubin's unique symbolistic-visionary creativity: "Dear Kubin! [..] Please try hard to get rid of the dark thoughts, to bring them down. After all, you are a person of fine feelings, subtle sensitivity. [..] I am very grateful for the copy of the night pieces. You know how much I love your things. [..] Yours Kandinsky." (quoted from: Paul Raabe (compiled on behalf of Dr. Kurt Otte, Kubin Archive Hamburg), Alfred Kubin. Leben – Werk – Wirkung, Hamburg 1957, p. 36/37). Far in advance of Kubin's later drawings for the illustrated edition of Wilhelm Hauff's oriental fairy tales published in 1911, the artist created an "Orientalische Phantasie" (Oriental Fantasy) in the present sheet, which is not only inspiring for its exotic motifs like the elephant striding into the picture from the right, but also casts a spell over us because of Kubin's almost unsurpassed graphic mastery. It is a dreamy parallel world, which, also in this sheet – albeit only subtly – contains dark fantasies and thoughts: be it the unrealistically large and menacing elephant depicted in the picture, with the load carriers beneath it that barely reach to the tip of the trunk, or the rider in the background, who accompanies the procession of turbaned men and, as an Ottoman rider, conjures up thoughts of a historical menace. Born in Bohemia and living in Austria from 1906, the image of an oriental caravan was inevitably associated with the historical siege and the devastating armed conflict of the Ottoman Wars, which has remained part of the collective memory in the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy well into the 20th century. [JS]



30
Alfred Kubin
Orientalische Phantasie (Türkischer Heerbann), 1904/5.
Carbon pencil and Pen and India ink drawing, pa...
Estimate:
€ 100,000 / $ 92,000
Sold:
€ 100,000 / $ 92,000

(incl. surcharge)