Lot 16
  • 16

ALEXEJ VON JAWLENSKY | Stilleben mit Früchten, Figur und Flasche (Still-Life with Fruit, Figure and Bottle)

800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alexej Jawlensky
  • Stilleben mit Früchten, Figur und Flasche (Still-Life with Fruit, Figure and Bottle)
  • signed A. Jawlensky (lower left)
  • oil on card laid down on board
  • 52.5 by 57.6cm.
  • 20 5/8 by 22 5/8 in.
  • Painted in 1907.


Dr Max Kugel, Wiesbaden 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


Frankfurt, Kunstkabinett & Munich, Kunstkabinett Klihm, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1954, no. 7 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, Alexej Jawlensky, Cologne, 1959, no. 716, illustrated p. 278 (titled Mit Flasche) 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)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1907, Stilleben mit Früchten, Figur und Flasche displays the vibrant palette that Jawlensky was formulating during the early years of Expressionism and that would eventually characterise his entire œuvre. Made up of patches of strong, bright colours delineated with blue contours, the composition presents an arrangement of objects on a table top, its dynamic stemming from the juxtaposition of the flat, monochromatically painted planes of the table cloth and the wall with the diverse shapes of the objects displayed. Strongly reminiscent of numerous still-lifes by Paul Cézanne (fig. 1), the cloth in the centre bridges the gap between the space of the viewer and that of the painting, drawing one’s eye towards the centre of the canvas. 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.