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Figure Looking Down. Detail sketch for a wall fresco for the Vienna Crematorium (unexecuted version), 1924

Leopold Museum,
Oil on canvas
54×45 cm


  • Anton Kolig

    (Neutitschein/Nový Jičín 1886–1950 Nötsch im Gailtal)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
The work depicts a stooping youth wearing a helmet and holding a scythe. The forearm resting on the knee and the slightly twisted torso suggest an active, dynamic motion. The Figure Looking Down is a motif that Anton Kolig (1886–1950) conceived for a large mural to adorn the main hall of the Vienna Crematorium, built by Clemens Holzmeister. The three-part composition was meant to depict a levitating man in the center, flanked on the left by a dressed man, known as the Social Democrat, and on the right by the Figure Looking Down. The addition of the scythe makes him a symbol of death. Breaking with traditional iconography, according to which the grim reaper appears as a skeleton, Kolig rendered him in the shape of an athletic youth, thus giving the subject an innovative and distinct significance.

Object data

Figure Looking Down. Detail sketch for a wall fresco for the Vienna Crematorium (unexecuted version)
Art movement
Nötsch Circle
Oil on canvas
54×45 cm
Signed center right: A K
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 170
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Anton Kolig, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Köln 2017 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 22.09.2017-08.01.2018)
  • Otmar Rychlik: Anton Kolig 1886-1950. Das malerische Werk, Wien 2001.

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Galerie Würthle, Wien (1925); (1)
Fritz Laminger, Villach (vor 1981);
Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1981-1994); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

  1. Galerie Würthle, Katalog zu „Anton Kolig“, Wien 1925, Katalognummer 14; Richard von Schaukal, Anton Kolig, in: Der Cicerone 6, 1925, S. 315.
  2. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Kaufvertrag vom 22.04.1981

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