Lot 6
  • 6

Alexej von Jawlensky

280,000 - 350,000 GBP
300,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alexej von Jawlensky
  • signed with the initials A.J. (lower left) and dated 31. (lower right); signed A. Jawlensky, dated 1931 and inscribed N 62. on the reverse

  • oil on linen-finish paper laid down on board


Jadwiga Zakowa-Kohn, Paris (probably acquired from the artist)
Ludwik Wiktor Kielbass, Sudol, Upper Silesia, Poland (acquired from the above by 1936)
Leon Wojaczek, Poland & Germany (acquired from the above in 1971)
Private Collection, Germany (acquired in 1993 and sold: Sotheby's London, 8th February 2005, lot 12)
Purchased at the above sale by the the present owner


Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky Bianconi, Alexej von Jawlensky, Catalogue Raisonné, The Watercolours and Drawings 1890-1938, London, 1998, vol. IV, no. 2316, illustrated in colour p. 429

Catalogue Note

Jawlensky's mature work was dominated by several series of paintings on the theme of the human face, throughout which his treatment of the features becomes increasingly stylised and abstracted. The present work belongs to the Abstrakter Kopf series, characterised by a grid of predominantly horizontal and vertical lines and brightly painted blocks of pigment. The typically long, U-shaped face with a strong symmetrical structure was first conceived in 1918, and Jawlensky worked on this series until 1935. A growing interest in Indian philosophy and the life of Indian yogis appear to have a strong influence on the series, as suggested by the meditative closed eyes and the overall reduction of the composition to the purest pictorial elements of colour and line. Gradually abandoning the signs of individuality and character, and focusing on the formal elements in his painting, in his mature work, such as Abstrakte Kopf, Jawlensky arrived at a style through which he was able to convey a sense of harmony and universal spirituality.

In 1929, Jadwiga Zakowa-Kohn, a former owner of this painting, widow of the Polish artist Eugène Zak, opened the Galerie Zak in St. Germain-des-Près in Paris which became one of the most prestigious galleries of the Ecole de Paris. She had regular exhibitions of the most influential artists of the Paris avant-garde, such as Modigliani and Chagall. She even gave Kandinsky his first one-man show in Paris in 1929. Due to her close bonds with Poland she was a keen promoter of the 'Art Polonaise Moderne'. She set up important exhibitions for Polish avant-garde artists in Paris and advised Polish art collectors at the time.