Egon Schiele, Setting Sun, 1913 © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 625

Egon Schiele, Setting Sun


The landscape, composed in horizontal layers and lines, intersected by trees with dry branches, is dominated by the color harmony of cool red and blue tones. The motif of the setting sun underlines the melancholic, almost dark expression of the painting, as if it means to say goodbye not only to today but to the world and to life in general. Egon Schiele wrote in a letter to the collector Franz Hauer in 1913: “I mainly observe the physical movement of mountains, water, trees, and flowers now. Everywhere one is reminded of similar motions inside the human body, similar stirrings of pleasure and pain in plants. Painting alone is not enough for me; I know that one can use colors to establish qualities. When one sees an autumnal tree in summer, it is an intense experience that involves one’s whole heart and being; and I should like to paint that melancholy.” 


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