Within Jawlensky’s œuvre, the central theme of exploration is the human face, in which he discovered ‘the perfect expression for his Eastern piety and mysticism’ (Clemens Weiler, Jawlensky, Heads Faces Meditations, London, 1971, p. 9). The innate spirituality of the work and transcendent quality of light and colour, alludes to Jawlensky’s belief in an affiliation between Art and God. Jawlensky once stated that, ‘For a few years I painted these variations and then it was necessary for me to find a form for the face, since I had understood that great art should only be painted with religious feeling. And I could bring this feeling only to the human face. I understood that in his art, the artist must use form and colour to say what is divine in him. For that reason, the work of art is a visible god, and art is the “longing for God”’ (quoted in Masters of Colour: Derain to Kandinsky (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2002, p. 142).
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