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This catalog of a 2008 exhibition at New York's Neue Galerie focuses on the critical early graphic work-arguably his most important-of the Austro-German artist and illustrator Kubin (1877-1959). Self-taught and sketchily educated in the artistic ferment of 1890s Munich, Kubin focused chiefly on themes of violence, death, and sex at the time that Sigmund Freud and others were beginning to explore the existence of the unconscious. Often seen as foreshadowing the wars and horrors of the 20th century's first half, Kubin's graphic works partake of Goya and Hieronymus Bosch as well as Freud and the hothouse aestheticism of turn-of-the-century Central Europe. Hoberg (curator, Städtische Galerie; coeditor, Franz Marc: The Retrospective) compiles six essays by German and Austrian curators that illuminate the artist's graphic style, the sources of his ideas, and his own literary work. Although he enjoyed great success later as a book illustrator, Kubin's early work remains sui generis, and iconographic analysis frequently outweighs aesthetic interest. This catalog tackles both with success, but he is an artist of limited range, his work almost akin to the outsider art of the period. For advanced art history collections.
—Jack Perry Brown