Alexej von Jawlensky

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Alexej von Jawlensky
Savior's Face with Open Eyes
Watercolor on paper.
9 3/4 x 7 inches (25 x 17.7 cm)
Bequest of Fred Ebb.

Jawlensky's art combined influences from Russian icons and folk art with modernism. He exhibited with the Fauves in 1905 and was a friend of Kandinsky, with whom he shared his spiritual aspirations and his conception of art as the expression of the artist's inner world. In 1914, he began working in series, producing endless variations of the same image--first a landscape, then, and for the rest of his life, the human face. This watercolor belongs to a series begun at the end of the First World War, when Jawlensky was living in exile in Switzerland. At the time, he was interested in Eastern philosophy and religion. His series of faces were inspired by Emmy "Galka" Scheyer, an artist he met in 1916, whose portrait he increasingly stylized until it was reduced to a few geometric patterns. The title of the series of Savior's Faces assimilates these paintings to objects of meditation.


Initialed at lower left, "A.J"; verso: Label with inscription, "Herrn Kirchhoff mit besten Wünschen zum Namenstag von A. Jawlensky" (To Mr. Kirchhoff with best wishes for his saint's day); dated on another label, "Wiesbaden 14.Juli.23".

Heinrich Kirchhoff (1874-1934), Wiesbaden (gift from the artist, 1923); Michael Hasenclever, Munich; Stefan Lennert, Munich; Kelmscott Gallery, Chicago; from whom acquired by Fred Ebb, New York, in 1983.
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