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Sale: 300 / XXth Century Classics, June 02. 2006  
Lot: 373  
Jawlensky, Alexej von 
Variation, 1918. 
Result (incl. 17% surcharge): 163,800 EUR / 214,578 $
Estimate: 100,000 EUR / 131,000 $  
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Alexej von Jawlensky


print
Alexej von Jawlensky - Variation  
print

Variation. Um 1918.
Oil over pencil on paper with linen finish, mounted on cardboard
Signed with the monogram lower left. On the reverse of the cardboard base with inscriptions probably by Emmy Galka Scheyer 'I', 'A v Jawlensky', '400.000' and '150.000' (crossed out). 36,3 x 27 cm ( 14,2 x 10,6 in).
On the reverse with a printed adress label of Annie Hensler-Möhring, Wiesbaden. Hensler-Möhring was a painter and photographer. A portrait of Jawlensky, executed by her is existing among the photo documents at the Jawlensky-Archive in Locarno.

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity by the Alexej von Jawlensky-Archive S.A., Locarno, dated 22.11.2005, to which the original work was presented. The work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Alexej von Jawlensky

Provenance: Annie Hensler-Möhring, Wiesbaden (gift by the artist).
Private ownership Germany (gift by Annie Hensler-Möhring around 1970).
Private ownership Germany (by inheritance).
Private collection Germany.

Jawlensky only began his artistic training in 1889 in St. Petersburg after a career as an officer in the tsarist army. He studied under Ilja Repin who introduced him to Marianne von Werefkin and Helene Nesnakomoff, his later wife. Jawlensky accompanied these two to Munich in 1896 where they wanted to visit a private art school. Here Jawlensky met Wassily Kandinsky. The artist undertook several trips to France and was able to show ten paintings at the 'Salon d'automne' with the help of Sergej Djagilev. Jawlensky also met Henri Matisse for the first time. In summer 1908 he worked with Kandinsky, Marianne von Werefkin and Gabriele Münter in Murnau for the first time. There, the four artists developed the idea for the foundation of the 'Neue Künstlervereinigung München' to which they aligned with other artists. In December the first exhibition took place in Munich. Two years later the 'Blauer Reiter' was established as a new idea of co-operation. In 1913 the artist participated in Herwarth Walden's first German autumn Salon in Berlin. When in 1914 world war I began, Jawlensky was expelled from Germany due to his Russian citizenship. He moved with his family and Marianne von Werefkin to Prex on Lake Geneva. And remained in Switzerland until 1921, where he began painting his abstract heads in 1918.

Jawlensky first captured the view from the window of a small flat in St. Prex on Lake Geneva in an approach close to realism. That view would become the prototype of a long series of variations, which, in later manifestations, would reveal very little, if anything, of the original landscape. Jawlensky was consistent his progression towards abstraction, which reveals his quest for the primal image, in dealing with all three thematic groupings – the variations, the constructive heads and the meditations. ‘I began to paint my so-called “variations on a landscape theme”, which I saw from the window [...]. By dint of a hard work and with the greatest excitement, I gradually arrived at the right colors and forms for expressing what my spiritual ego demanded. Every day I would paint those color variations, always inspired by whatever mood happened to prevail in nature together with my spirit’ (Jawlensky, Lebenserinnerungen [Memoirs], p. 116). As can be seen from the biographies of other painters, Jawlensky was a painter whose work is palpably close to music. In no other medium are variations so creatively handled as they are in the composing of music. Jawlensky, who kept on re-using forms, once found, as prefabricated elements in his compositions, attained his aim via color and did this so brilliantly that the variations, as formally similar as they are, are always open to new interpretation.

In 1922 Jawlnesky finally settled in Wiesbaden, where he probably met with the painter and photographer Annie Hensler-Möring and her husband, the sculptor Arnold Hensler. Jawlensky suffered from a progressing paralysis and had difficulties in painting. In 1933 the Nationalsocialists ban him from exhibiting. One year later the painter began the series of small-format 'Meditationen'. Alexej von Jawlensky died on 15 March 1941 in Wiesbaden.

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