Cain Killing Abel, 1924

Albert Paris von Gütersloh

Lithograph

The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund P.74.9.7

Not on View

According to the biblical Book of Genesis and other religious and folkloric sources, Cain and Abel were the two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was the first human born, and Abel was the first to die. Cain was a farmer; Abel a shepherd. In a fit of jealousy and anger over God's preference for Abel's superior offering, Cain murdered his younger brother. No murder weapon is mentioned. As a result of Cain's heinous act, God condemns him to a life of wandering.

Albert Paris von Gütersloh was an Austrian artist, novelist, actor, stage designer, and the principal proponent of Fantastic Realism, a surrealist-inspired art movement founded in Vienna that combined elements of symbolism with psychoanalysis. Published on the tenth anniversary of the start of World War I (1914-1918), Gütersloh's print cycle was likely a sly commentary on the horrific human suffering of the European war and the senselessness of "brother killing brother." It was one of numerous anti-war and pacifist publications and graphic cycles issued in Germany and elsewhere in 1924 by such artists as Kathe Kollwitz, Otto Dix, and others.

Image: In Copyright. The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund

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