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Wolves Sitting in a Tree*

© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Freud Museum London

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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?

Freud Museum London



Wolves Sitting in a Tree*




oil on canvas


H 45 x W 55 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Dr and Mrs Alexander Grinstein, 2001

Work type


Inscription description

signed 'Wolfmann'


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Normally on display at

Freud Museum London

20 Maresfield Gardens, London, Greater London NW3 5SX England

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