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Danse Macabre (version IV), 1915

Leopold Museum,
Casein on canvas
202×244.5 cm


  • Albin Egger-Lienz

    (Stribach near Lienz 1868–1926 Zwölfmagreien/Bolzano)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Probably the most famous motif in the work of Albin Egger-Lienz (1868–1926) is Danse Macabre 1809. The Tyrolean artist focused on this monumental group of figures in a total of six versions between 1906 und 1921. Death leads a group of four peasants in lockstep. They follow him blindly—only the last one looks back with regret. The new striving for size, indeed monumentality, demanded a new material. Instead of oil paints, Egger-Lienz found his solution in matte casein paint. In this fourth version from 1915, the outlines hold the large forms together; the three-dimensionality of the figures is achieved by shading and brightening the areas of color. With this group of works, Egger-Lienz definitively left the world of traditional history and genre painting behind. Instead of portraying events realistically, the focus shifted to human existence. The Viennese public was divided in its reaction to the composition; Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne, pointedly ignored the work when it was first presented at the Künstlerhaus. Egger-Lienz represented the tragedy of war, but the imperial dynasty needed heroes to fight for God, emperor, and country.

Object data

  • Albin Egger-Lienz
Danse Macabre (version IV)
Art movement
Casein on canvas
202×244.5 cm
Signed and dated lower left: EGGER-LIENZ 1915
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 195
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).
  • Wien 1900. Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Diethard Leopold/Peter Weinhäupl, Wien u.a. 2009.
  • Albin Egger-Lienz: 1868-1926, hrsg. von Gert Ammann/Michael Fuhr, Wien 2008 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 15.02.2008–29.05.2008).
  • Wilfried Kirschl: Albin Egger-Lienz: 1868-1926; das Gesamtwerk; [Monographie in zwei Bänden], Wien 1996.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Kirschl 1996: M 352

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Gotthard Freiherr von Pentz, Schloss Brandis, Leipzig (vor 1930); (1)
Erika und Peter Müllersen, Wien (vor 1977); (2)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (nach 1983-1994); (3)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994).

  1. Heinrich Hammer, Egger-Lienz, Innsbruck 1930, S. 276
  2. Wilfried Kirschl, Albin Egger-Lienz: 1868-1926. Das Gesamtwerk, Wien 1977, S. 544, M 352
  3. Kristian Sotriffer, Egger-Lienz: 1868-1926, Wien 1983, S. 22, Nr. 79.

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