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Alfred Leopold Isidor Kubin (10 April 1877 – 20 August 1959); Austrian printmaker, illustrator, and occasional writer. Kubin is considered an important representative of Symbolism and Expressionism.
Kubin was born in Bohemia in the town of Leitmeritz, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Litoměřice). From 1892-96, he was apprenticed to the landscape photographer Alois Beer, although he learned little....
Alfred Kubin, like Edvard Munch, "heard the scream in nature," suffering too early and too often the loss of loved ones and other assaults of life. Death of his mother at 10 resulting in savage repression by the father; death of stepmother at 11; attempted suicide on his mother's grave at 19; nervous breakdown at 20; death of fiancée at 26; death of father (with whom he had become reconciled) at 27 in 1904.
Kubin's attitude toward life and death is expressed by the drawing of a giant, entitled "The Mountain," 1902, symbolizing the brute, uncaring power of life, very similar to Goya's humanity-trampling "Colossus." Standing on the titan's thigh, a tiny, pick-wielding man chips away at the monster's kneecap. The paunchy leviathan has a good chuckle at mankind's expense, his insignificance, helplessness and dullness of condition and awareness...while preparing a good-natured, fatal swat like the impersonal, incidental killing blow delivered to a pesky mosquito.
The basic theme in Kubin's work (essentially a draftsman in the graphic media rather than a painter) is man attacked by life itself, a life that by its nature is monstrous. A lesser, secondary theme, appearing more in later years, occasionally humorously, is that man also victimizes himself through his own foibles, while being churned in the great vat of life and death....