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Science, c. 1902

Leopold Museum,
India ink, pen, watercolor, spray technique on cadastral paper
36.8×30 cm


  • Alfred Kubin

    (Litoměřice 1877–1959 Zwickledt)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
In a thinker’s pose with its left hand raised musingly to its forehead, clutching a heavy book under its right arm, a chimpanzee is striding through the plane. Stepping over an obstacle, its little foot treads on a neuralgic point – the genitals of a naked male body lying stretched out on its back on the arched plane. Using pencil, Alfred Kubin (1877–1959) noted the title Science at the center of the margin below his India ink and watercolor drawing. The sprawling body of the reclining human is inserted diagonally into the nearly square format. The knees and the visible part of the legs are seen as if from above; the belly, the thorax, the throat and the chin from below. The head is thrown back, the neck hyperextended. The figure is resting on the ground with outstretched arms, reclining on a knoll in complete passivity and protruding beyond the horizon line. Its face is turned up to the sinister, overcast sky. Is man the object of or the obstacle to this search for knowledge? Or is the ape exploring something else entirely? Once more, the multi-talented artist Kubin demonstrates his subtle and razor-sharp humor: With great elegance, his graphic work brings together the insults humanity has suffered through the findings of Kopernikus, Darwin and Freud.

Object data

  • Alfred Kubin
c. 1902
Art movement
Graphic work
India ink, pen, watercolor, spray technique on cadastral paper
36.8×30 cm
Signed lower right: AKubin; designated lower center: Wissenschaft
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 1026
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Alfred Kubin. Bekenntnisse einer gequälten Seele, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Köln 2022 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 16.04.2022–24.07.2022).
  • Alfred Kubin. Aus meinem Reich. Meisterblätter aus dem Leopold Museum, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold/Romana Schuler, Wien 2002 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 05.10.2002-06.01.2003).

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Unbekannter Privatbesitz (1964); (1)
Auktion: 30.11.-01.12.1972, Karl & Faber München, Auktion Nr. 133, Kat. Nr. 836, Tafel 82;
Franz Armin Morat, Freiburg im Breisgau (vor 1977-1981); (2)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (nach 1980-1994); (3)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

  1. Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, Katalog zu “Gedächtnisausstellung Alfred Kubin. 1877-1959”, München 1964, S. 56, Nr. 17
  2. Hans Albert Peters (Hrsg.), Alfred Kubin. Das zeichnerische Frühwerk bis 1904, Stuttgart 1977, S. 266, Nr. 76; Karl Arndt (Hg.), Alfred Kubin. Mappenwerke, Bücher, Einzelblätter aus der Sammlung Hedwig und Helmut Goedeckemeyer, Göttingen 1980, S. 41, Nr. 1.11
  3. Telefonische Auskunft von Franz Armin Morat vom 22.05.2017.

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