Alfred Kubin - Radfahr-Klub Stahlrad
Pen and ink drawing on laid paper with watermark "GR. ULLERSDORF". 25.5 x 35 cm. Signed 'AKubin' (joined) lower right in ink, titled 'Radfahr Klub Stahlrad.' lower left in pencil. - In fine condition. Minimal marginal rubbing.
Kubin combines graphic and anecdotal genius in this sheet, which was reproduced for the first time in 1921/1922 in Simplicissimus: every aspect and facet of that enthusiasm - particularly rampant around the turn of the century - for riding bicycles and for cycling as a sport seems to have been taken into account. The creation of the first sports clubs began in 1870. “All Heil!” in the sense of “all hail”, as one needs to know today, was the greeting and battle cry of the “velocipedists” back then - comparable to “fair winds and following seas” among sailors. With low-key irony, Kubin has a circus-worthy parade ride past his viewers: an aging gentleman, a balancing penny-farthing and - leading the way - a somewhat conceited, emancipated lady. The latter seems to have still been rather unheard of on a bicycle. However, masculine vanities are ridiculed in the same way, whether it is the zealous speedster on his “92nd kilometre”, the group on the steep mountain slope or the fallen rider in the smartly spotted shirt at the edge. Graphic abbreviations are used to characterise the alcohol-fuelled cheering of the fans on the club's raised terrace as well as a largely indifferent nonchalance and calm over a refreshing drink under the sunshade. People and the club movement, people and technical equipment: the draughtsman brings both together in a composition that radiates a maximum of atmosphere and mood within its narrow dimensions.
As a draughtsman and illustrator, Kubin was also a gifted writer who fully grasped his subject matter intellectually and who, based on the background of his extensive education and wide-ranging interests, succeeded in creating countless witty and immediately illuminating remarks, such as: “Nothing, after all, has ever advanced human knowledge more than the rigorous elaboration of the personally one-sided.” (Alfred Kubin, 1927, in an article on Julius Meier-Graefe, Entwicklungsgeschichte der modernen Kunst, reprinted in: Alfred Kubin, Aus Meiner Werkstatt, Gesammelte Prosa, Munich 1973, p. 186).
Raabe 159 and 194 (hatched etching after the drawing); illus. p. 102
Galerie Kornfeld 16 June 2006, Auction 237, lot 97; Private collection, Westphalia
Simplicissimus, vol. 26, Munich 1921/1922, with illus. no. 12; Alfred Kubin, Fünfzig Zeichnungen, Munich, Verlag Albert Lange 1923, plate 17 with full-page color illus.