Sale: Lempertz, Cologne, 1967, lot 376
Roman Norbert Ketterer, Campione d'Italia
Private Collection, Switzerland
Sale: Christie's, London, 28th November 1989, lot 340
Galerie Thomas, Munich
Private Collection, Germany (sold: Christie's, London, 18th June 2007, lot 15)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Wiesbaden, Neues Museum, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1954, no. 9
Campione d'Italia, Roman Norbert Ketterer, Moderne Kunst V, 1968, no. 48, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Galerie Thomas, Alexej Jawlensky: Eine Ausstellung zum 50. Todesjahr, 1990-91, no. 19, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Pisa, Palazzo Blu, Wassily Kandinsky dalla Russia all'Europa, 2012-13, no. 75, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Malaga, The State Russian Museum, Alexei and Andreas Jawlensky: Color Adventures, 2017-18, no. 33, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Clemens Weiler, Jawlensky: Heads, Faces, Meditations, London, 1970, no. 1303, listed p. 135 (titled With Bottle)
Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London, 1991, vol. I, no. 190, illustrated in colour p. 173 (with incorrect medium)
In the autumn of 1907 Jawlensky travelled to Paris with his family to see the retrospective of Cézanne’s work at the Salon d’Autumne, an experience that proved pivotal to his development as a painter. In the present work, the choice of a still-life motif, the short brushstrokes and the contrast of brighter and cooler tones all reflect the influence of Cézanne, whose canvases would have been fresh in his memory. ‘He delineated his areas of colour with dark contours and thus managed to turn the whole composition into planes. He not only reduced landscapes in this way, but also still-lifes, simplifying his forms ever more powerfully and limiting them to a few boldly contrasting colours. In this way Jawlensky made the change to strict composition, like the French Fauves – and in particular Derain, as a result of the major Cézanne exhibition in Paris in 1907 – a tendency that had in France grown out of Analytical Cubism. Jawlensky thus constructed his paintings with the help of Cézanne and placed his colours against each other in the manner of Gauguin. What he added, however, was a heavy Russian saturation of colours. Colour is never used decoratively by him; rather, it is always invested with feeling, it has inner meaning’ (C. Weiler, op. cit., 1959, p. 67, translated from German).
Jawlensky’s reliance upon colour as means of visual expression also derived from the examples of the Fauve painters working in France during this period. Jawlensky first met these artists, including Matisse and Van Dongen, shortly after the Fauves’ seminal exhibition at the Salon d’Automne of 1905 and was inspired by their wild colouration and expressive brushwork. Matisse, who famously remarked: ‘I used color as means of expressing my emotion and not as a transcription of nature’ (quoted in Jacqueline & Maurice Guillaud, Matisse: Rhythm and Line, New York, 1987, p. 24), explored the expressive power of colour in many of his still-lifes, both those painted during the Fauve period, such as the Nature morte au pot d’étain et statuette rose of 1910 (fig. 2), and later in his career. Similarly, Jawlensky believed that colour communicated his own emotional state, a notion that he started developing in early still-lifes and that would reach its pinnacle in later landscapes and portraits.
Besides Cézanne and the Fauve artists, Jawlensky was first and foremost inspired by paintings by Van Gogh, as well as by Gauguin, to whom he was introduced by is friend, the painter Verkade. A synthesis of various influences which would eventually help Jawlensky to formulate his own unique style, Stilleben mit Früchten, Figur und Flasche heralds the breakthrough that would occur in the following year, when he spent his first summer in the Bavarian town of Murnau painting alongside Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and Marianne von Werefkin. It was in Murnau, where the group fostered an atmosphere of freedom and stimulating artistic exchange, that both Jawlensky and Kandinsky created some of their most innovative and daring compositions, pushing the boundaries of painting along a path that eventually led to abstraction.
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