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Into the Unknown, 1900/01

Leopold Museum,
India ink, pen, watercolor, spray technique on cadastral paper
30.9×39 cm


  • Alfred Kubin

    (Leitmeritz/Litoměřice 1877–1959 Zwickledt)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Masses of people, seemingly solidifying in the distance, are streaming calmly and composedly into a huge portal – unaware that the aperture is really the wide-open mouth of a monstrous beast with enormous canine teeth. Alfred Kubin (1877–1959) segments the picture plane with fine pen strokes and spray technique: The human masses flowing from the foreground to the center of the format – and hence into the jaws of the monster – are depicted in different horizontal illuminations. From the semi-darkness in the foreground, the figures, which are then shown only as hazy masses, are proceeding into a more and more dazzling light, only to disappear through the partly lit mouth into the black hole of the throat. The people in the foreground, depicted individually and in detail, are talking to each other in a relaxed manner. No trace of suspicion or worry can be detected. Kubin’s decision to call the work, created with pen and India ink in 1900/01, Into the Unknown once again reveals his deeply black humor and his desire to lead us into his world of metaphors, ambiguities and dreariness.

Object data

  • Alfred Kubin
Into the Unknown
Art movement
Graphic work
India ink, pen, watercolor, spray technique on cadastral paper
30.9×39 cm
Signed lower right: A. Kubin; designated lower left: Ins Unbekannte
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 932
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).
  • Wien 1900. Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Diethard Leopold/Peter Weinhäupl, Wien u.a. 2009.
  • 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

Auktion: 24.11.1986, Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer München, Auktion Nr. 112, Los Nr. 722
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1986-1994); (1)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

  1. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Rechnung der Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, München vom 28.11.1986

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