Frightening dream:
a watercolour

Paul Goesch (1885 – 1940)

Drawing by Paul Gosch, gouache and ink on paper, 22,4 x 28,5 cm
© Expired

This gouache drawing depicts a surreal scenery in crude patches of colour: an oversized face, turquoise with blue hair, peers from an orange background at a lake. A person stands at the rudder of a sailing boat. A chunk of earth floats above it carrying trees; three dark cypresses on the shore to the left are flanked by two people; a naked woman stands at the right margin.

This dream scene by Paul Goesch (1885–1940) is disturbing. A child in a boat crosses a lake alone. There is an island ahead where dark trees are swaying. Two figures dressed in black stand ominously close to the steep shore. Another stretch of landscape rises on the right. A huge face looms beyond, looking sadly at the viewer. Is it a god? A prophet gazing into the future? Only the naked woman on the right seems aware of his presence and invokes him with raised arms.

When the trained architect Goesch made this picture around 1920, he was already suffering psychotic episodes. He was treated several times before being admitted permanently to a psychiatric hospital in 1921. He spent his time there obsessively filling hundreds of pages with drawings and watercolours. In 1940 Goesch was killed in what the Nazis called a euthanasia programme. His artistic estate was rescued. Our Collection of Prints and Drawings holds nearly 300 works.

around 1920
Gouache and ink on paper
22,4 x 28,5 cm
Endowment by the commmunity of heirs from the artist's estate, Berlin 1978

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