Alfred Kubin was born on 10 April 1877 in Leitmeritz in Bohemia. The Austrian graphic artist, writer and book illustrator is one of the most important representatives of symbolism and expressionism. Kubin died in Zwickledt on August 20, 1959 at the age of eighty-two.
Kubin had a turbulent childhood: his mother died young and his family was always moving. Uncertain about which profession to pursue, he first completed an apprenticeship with a photographer in Klagenfurt. Yet he found his true calling from 1898, when he attended the painters’ academy in Munich and various drawing schools. Kubin then continued his training autodidactically. He was influenced by the graphic work of Max Klinger, James Ensor, Odilon Redon and Edvard Munch. An exhibition of his work at Paul Cassirer’s gallery in Berlin perplexed and horrified visitors, although in the poet Max Dauthendey and collector and publisher Hans von Weber, Kubin found important supporters. The publication of the Hans von Weber portfolio in 1903 resulted in his breakthrough. The death of his fiancée Emmy Bayer plunged the young Kubin into a deep crisis, which he only overcame when he married Hedwig Gründler. In 1905 he visited Paris, in 1907 he travelled around Dalmatia and in 1909 he was in the Balkans. He established ties with artists like Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger which were to last a lifetime. From 1906 Kubin lived in Zwickledt near Wernstein am Inn. In 1909 Kubin joined the New Artists’ Association of Munich (Neue Künstlervereinigung München) and from 1911 he was a member of the Vienna Secession. In addition to many prizes he was also made an honorary member of the Vienna Academy and the Prague Secession. He devoted his work to drawings, prints and book illustrations (by authors like Poe, Dostoevsky, Hauff, E.T.A Hoffmann, Hauptmann etc.). Even during his lifetime his work was acclaimed in large collective exhibitions. Kubin died on 20 August 1959 in Zwickledt.