267
267
Alexei Jawlensky
ABSTRAKTER KOPF (ABSTRACT HEAD)
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 262,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
267
Alexei Jawlensky
ABSTRAKTER KOPF (ABSTRACT HEAD)
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 262,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Alexei Jawlensky
1864 - 1941
ABSTRAKTER KOPF (ABSTRACT HEAD)
Signed with the initials A.J. (lower left); signed A.v jawlensky, dated Wiesbaden 20 Nov. 28 and dedicated Für Fräulein Mela Escherich in tiefster Verehrung (on the reverse)
Oil on canvasboard
10 3/8 by 8 1/4 in.
26.3 by 21 cm
Painted circa 1927.
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Provenance

Mela Escherich, Wiesbaden (acquired from the artist on November 20, 1928)
Galerie Thomas, Munich (acquired by 1976)
Private Collection, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Private Collection, Switzerland
Sale: Grisebach, Berlin, November 27, 2014, lot 49 
Private Collection, Cologne (and sold by the estate: Native Auctions, Brussels, January 27, 2018, lot 117)
Private Collection, Brussels
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Catalogue raisonné of the Oil Paintings 1914-1933, vol. II, London, 1992, no. 1271, illustrated p. 405

Catalogue Note

Mela Escherich, to whom the present work is dedicated, was an art historian based in Wiesbaden, the town where Jawlensky settled in the early 1920s and began work on his seminal series of Abstract (or Constructivist) heads. Escherich championed Jawlensky in her 1926 treatise on Russian artists in Germanycharacterizing him as “one of those distinguished figures whose art touches us like a breath from a better world” (Mela Escherich, “Russische Kunst in Deutschland,” in Osteuropa, Berlin, 1926, p. 461).

Jawlensky is unusual among modern artists in the consistency with which he pursued a single theme. Taking the strict format of the human face, an unbroken line of artistic development can be traced from his Fauve period through to the abstract faces of the 1920s and the glowing “Meditations” of his final years. The extraordinarily rich range within this series has been compared to a sort of abstract calendar for the artist, marking his interior responses to changing states of mind, emotions, weather and seasons: “For me the face is not just a face but the whole universe” (quoted in Clemens Weiler, Jawlensky, Heads, Faces, Meditations, London, 1971, n.p.).

As the present work attests, the application of paint in this series is so fine that extremely delicate nuances of tone were possible. Jawlensky modified the construction of these compositions slightly, but his prime means of expression was through color—the linear features have meaning only as a framework to support this color. The parallels to icon painting have inevitably been drawn, not least because the artist himself pointed to the importance of his spiritual heritage in his writings: “Every artist works in a tradition. Some take their tradition from the art of the Greeks, others from that of the Renaissance. I am Russian-born. As such my heart and soul have always felt close to old Russian art, to Russian icons, to the art of Byzantium, the mosaics of Ravenna, Venice and Rome and the art of the Romanesque period” (ibid., p. 11).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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