Concerning these Köpfe, Jawlensky wrote:
I painted these ‘variations’ for some years, and then I found it necessary to find form for the face, because I had come to understand that great art can only be painted with religious feeling. And that I could only bring to the human face…They are technically very perfect and radiate great spirituality’. (Alexej von Jawlensky in letter to Pater Willibrord Verkade, June 12, 1939).
Otto Ralfs, to whom this particular portfolio is dedicated, was an important collector and gallery owner whom Jawlensky visited in Braunschweig in 1923, and several times thereafter. This first visit is recorded in the gallery’s guestbook, Gästebuch Otto Ralfs, which also includes the sketches and texts of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Lyonel Feininger. This is now kept in the Stadtischen Museum, Braunschweig.
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