Lot 11
  • 11

Alexej von Jawlensky

350,000 - 450,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alexej von Jawlensky

  • signed with the initials A.J. and dated 19 (lower left)

  • oil on linen-finish paper laid down on board


Hermann Kesser, Zurich (a gift from the artist)
Private Collection, Germany
Sale: Sotheby's, Berlin, 30th May 1991, lot 18
Purchased at the above sale by the present owners


Venice, Padiglione della Russia, XII Esposizione internazionale d'Arte della Citta di Venezia, 1920, no. 28
Dresden, Galerie Emil Richter (and travelling in Germany), Alexej Jawlensky, 1922
Chemnitz, Kunsthütte, Alexej Jawlensky, 1923, probably no. 233
Dresden, Neue Galerie Fides (and travelling in Germany), Alexej Jawlensky, 1923
Frankfurt, Galerie Ludwig Schames, 1923


Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings 1914-1933, London, 1992, vol. II, no. 1078, illustrated in colour p. 282

Catalogue Note

Heilandsgesicht: Märtyrer forms part of Jawlensky's series of 'Heilandsgesichter'. Commenting on the variety of these serial works, Clemens Weiler has written: 'Jawlensky came to concentrate more and more on the human face as the bearer of emotion. Although his work has great depth and breadth of variation, he reduced his means of expression to a minimum' (C. Weiler, Alexej Jawlensky. Köpfe, Gesichter, Meditationen, Hanau, 1970, p. 9).

In its format and composition, the present work also recalls the Russian Orthodox icons of the artist's youth. Jawlensky commented on this influence and remarked: 'I am Russian-born. As such my heart and soul have always felt close to old Russian art, to Russian icons, the art of Byzantium, the mosaics of Ravenna, Venice and Rome and the art of the Romanesque period. All these arts would set up a holy vibration in my soul, for they spoke to me in a language of deep spirituality. It was this art that gave me my tradition' (quoted in C. Weiler,ibid., p. 11).

The Swiss art and music critic Hermann Kesser, who once received the present work as a gift from the artist, was a very close friend of Jawlensky and in the artist's photo archive there is a note written in pencil under the present work stating 'gift to Hermann Kesser'.