The J. Paul Getty Museum

Queen of the Night

Object Details


Queen of the Night


Moritz von Schwind (Austrian, 1804 - 1871)




Austria (Place Created)


about 1864–1867


Watercolor over graphite

Object Number:



41 × 31.1 cm (16 1/8 × 12 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

Deeply affected by his friendship with the composer Franz Schubert, Moritz von Schwind developed a passion for music. He long dreamed of painting a monumental cycle of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute(1791).

In 1863 he was finally commissioned to paint frescoes of that subject for the newly built Vienna Opera House. Schwind created a striking vision of the mysterious Queen of the Night, whose commanding appearance in Act 1, backlit by the giant moon, takes on cosmic dimensions. This drawing embodies the confluence of art and music characteristic of German Romanticism.


August Lederer, 1857 - 1936, by inheritance to his widow, Serena Lederer.


Serena Lederer, 1867 - 1943, looted by the Nazis in 1939.


In the possession of the Nazis, no. 207 in the Nazi inventory of the Lederer collection, restituted but not physically returned to the son of August and Serena Lederer, Erich Lederer.


Erich Lederer, Austrian, 1896 - 1985, In 1951, the drawing was given as a forced donation to the Albertina Museum as a payment for permission to ship Lederer's collection to Switzerland. The donation was declared invalid in 1998.


Albertina, restituted to the Lederer heirs, 1999.


Heirs of Erich Lederer, Austrian, 1896 - 1985 [sold, Alte Meister, Bilder des 19. und 20 Jahrhunderts, Palais Kinsky, Vienna, June 11, 2002, lot 16, to private collector]


Private Collection (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009.

Spirit of an Age: Drawings from the Germanic World, 1770-1900 (March 29 to June 19, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 29 to June 19, 2011
Zeitgeist: Art from the Germanic World, 1800-1900 (February 10 to May 17, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 10 to May 17, 2015
The Art of Music (September 26, 2015 to May 29, 2016)
  • San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego), September 26, 2015 to February 7, 2016

Weigmann, Otto Albert. Schwind: Des Meisters Werke in 1265 Abbildungen (Stuttgart and Leipzig: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1906).

Neuerwerbungen alter Meister; 1950-1958 (Vienna: n.p., 1958), p. 3, no. 99.

Hadamowsky, Franz, and Alexander Witeschnik. 100 Jahre Wiener Oper am Ring (Vienna: Aktionskomitee 100 Jahr-Feier der Wiener Staatsoper, 1969), no. 40/Ia.

Holsten, Siegmar. Moritz von Schwind: Meister der Spätromantik (Ostfildern-Ruit: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1996), p. 230, no. 406.

Lillie, Sophie. Was Einmal War. Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens (Vienna: Czernin Verlag, 2003), p. 664n37.