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Setting Sun, 1913

Leopold Museum,
Oil on canvas
90×90.5 cm


  • Egon Schiele

    (Tulln 1890–1918 Vienna)

Currently on display at OG3
In the 1913 painting Setting Sun, Egon Schiele (1889–1918) presented the moment of the day when we must mourn the setting sun. Though it is still offering warmth in the distance, the contours in the shadows are already dissolving. Rather than on the beauty of nature, the artist focused on its embeddedness into a continuous coming and going. This melancholy atmosphere is typical for Schiele’s landscapes which he gave titles such as Bare Trees or Sunless Landscape. The sun is a recurring motif in his works and acts as a cipher for the cyclical. A constant, which keeps leaving but also keeps coming back, it is a symbol for the cycle of life, for the organic connectedness of all living beings. By emphasizing this process, Schiele incorporated one of his central themes into the depiction: coming into being and passing away, life and death – or, as Schiele once put it with regard to his own body: “Mein Wesen, mein – Verwesen” [my being, my – decay].

A closer look

The artwork explained by
curator Verena Gamper


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Object data

  • Egon Schiele
Setting Sun
Art movement
Oil on canvas
90×90.5 cm
Signed and dated upper center right: EGON SCHIELE 1913
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 625
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Hundertwasser - Schiele. Imagine Tomorrow, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Köln 2020 (Leopold Museum, Wien, 21.02.2020-31.08.2020).
  • Rudolf Leopold: Egon Schiele. Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, hrsg. von Elisabeth Leopold, München 2020.
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).
  • Tobias Natter: Egon Schiele, Sämtliche Gemälde 1909-1918, Köln 2017.
  • Egon Schiele. Melancholie und Provokation, hrsg. von Elisabeth/Diethard Leopold, Wien 2011 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 23.09.2011–19.04.2012).
  • Der Lyriker Egon Schiele. Briefe und Gedichte 1910–1912 aus der Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold/Elisabeth Leopold, München 2008.
  • Egon Schiele Landschaften, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold, München u.a. 2004 (Ausst. Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 17.09.2004-31.01.2005).
  • Jane Kallir: Egon Schiele - The complete works. Expanded edition including a biography and a catalogue raisonné, New York 1998.
  • Otto Kallir: Egon Schiele. Oeuvre Catalogue of the Paintings, New York 1966.
  • Otto Nirenstein: Egon Schiele. Persönlichkeit und Werk, Berlin 1930.
Catalogue raisonne
  • J. Kallir 1990/1998: P265
  • Leopold 1972/2020: 235
  • Natter 2017: 134
  • O. Kallir 1966: 183
  • O. Kallir (Nirenstein) 1930: 131

If you have further information on this object, please contact us.


Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Arthur Roessler, Wien (1913-1957); (1)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1957-1994); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994)

  1. Tobias Natter, Die Welt von Klimt, Schiele und Kokoschka. Sammler und Mäzene, Köln 2003, S. 202; Neue Galerie Wien, Egon Schiele. Gedächtnis-Ausstellung zum 30. Todestag, Wien 1948, Nr. 37
  2. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Kaufvertrag vom 07.01.1953; Sonja Niederacher, Egon Schiele. „Versinkende Sonne“, Dossier vom 30.04.2011, S. 4

For provenance related information, please contact us.