By the late 1880s already, Belgian-born George Minne (1866–1941) had developed a new type of sculpture in which, moving away from prevailing taste, the figures were made lean and gaunt. From about 1895 he worked on different versions of a kneeling boy — the present version is from 1897 — which were intended to be placed along the edge of a fountain. With their crossed arms and almost humbly bowed heads, they show a move towards the Gothic, which can be seen in other works by Minne, too. A version of this fountain was shown in 1905/1906 at the Folkwang Museum founded by Karl Ernst Osthaus (1874–1921) in Hagen. In Viennese collections, too — the present one comes from Carl Moll’s (1861–1945) — versions of this Kneeling Boy could be found early on, inspiring the young Austrian Expressionist artists Egon Schiele (1890–1918) and Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) to likewise create gaunt, fragile, in part androgynous male youth figures.