Sergei Pankejeff was one of Sigmund Freud’s most famous patients. The harrowing childhood dream that he recounted to Freud and later depicted in this painting earned him the nickname ‘Wolf Man’. In his dream Pankejeff was lying in bed when the window swung open. Peering outside he saw six or seven white wolves sitting in the tree outside his bedroom, their eyes fixed on him. Terrified by their gaze, he woke up screaming. The dream intrigued Freud, who soon discovered that it marked a turning point in Pankejeff’s childhood: prior to the dream he had been very good-natured, but afterwards he became a nasty, bad-tempered little boy. A good deal of his treatment with Freud was devoted to unravelling this peculiar dream: what did it mean, and why did it bring about this change in Pankejeff’s personality?
Where to see this painting?
Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens, London, Greater London, England, NW3 5SX
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.