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Studies of Patients, 1915

Leopold Museum,
Watercolor, pencil on paper
56.7×39.2 cm


  • Erwin Dominik Osen

    (Vienna 1891–1970 Dortmund)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
These Studies of Patients are part of a series of nine drawings which Erwin Osen (1891–1970) made of patients in the psychiatric ward at Vienna’s 2nd Garrison Hospital in 1915. The drawings are now in the collection of the Leopold Museum. In this work, two naked soldiers appear to be performing their pathological physical behavior together. Their spasms are recorded in a kind of sequenced protocol. Osen, who was diagnosed with “chronic neurasthenia” and was himself treated at the Garrison Hospital, bears witness to a clinical encounter in this empathetic drawing, even though he omits any reference to a hospital setting. The intended use of this drawing – and of the other works in the series, including Portrait of a Patient (“Bruno Granichstaedten”) – has not been documented: They were probably initiated by the electropathologist Stefan Jellinek (1871–1968), then head of the psychiatric ward, for use in lectures, even though it is also possible that they were part of the treatment for Osen’s “weak nerves”. Such questions, which cannot be resolved beyond doubt, hint at the complexity of the relations between physicians, artists and patients in early 20th century Vienna.

Object data

  • Erwin Dominik Osen
Studies of Patients
Art movement
Graphic work
Watercolor, pencil on paper
56.7×39.2 cm
Signed and dated lower left: Osen Erwin von 1915.; designated lower left: Garnis. Spt.
Credit line
Leopold Museum,Vienna, Inv. 6423, The acquisition of these drawings was made possible by the generous support of the Association of Friends of the Leopold Museum
Inventory access
Accession 2019 2020

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Stefan Jellinek, Wien / Oxford (1915-1968); (1)
Ernst Heinrich Jellinek, Edingburgh (ab 1968); (2)
Diana Jellinek, Timperley, UK (bis 2020); (3)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 2020)

  1. Archiv des Leopold Museums, E-mail Mag. Verena Gamper an Dr. Alfred Fehringer vom 09.03.2022
  2. Christian Klösch, Stefan Jellinek. Eintrag im Lexikon der österreichischen Provenienzforschung vom 06.01.2019
    (, 10.03.2022)
  3. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Rechnung vom 28.01.2020

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