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Sale: 269 / XXth Century Classics and Munich School, May 17. 2002  
Lot: 44  
Jawlensky, Alexej von 
Heilandsgesicht, 1922. 
Result (incl. 15% surcharge): 368,000 EUR / 482,080 $
Estimate: 200,000 EUR / 262,000 $  
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Alexej von Jawlensky


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Alexej von Jawlensky - Heilandsgesicht  
print

Heilandsgesicht
Oil over pencil on firm paper, 1922
Jawlensky/ Pieroni-Jawlensky 1183Signed with monogram lower left. With inscription "A. v. Jawlensky Berlin 1920" on the reverse .37,3 x 27,1 cm (14,6 x 10,6 inch ).
.

Origin: Sotheby’s London, 1961, Cat.no. 36.
Sotheby’s London, 1962, Cat.no. 313 (ill.).
Galerie Thomas, Munich.
Private collection South Germany.

Exhibition: 30 Jahre Galerie Thomas, Galerie Thomas, Munich 1994, no. 61 (ill. in colour)

‘The Meditations are the crowning achievement of Jawlensky’s life’s-work. In them he found his definitive style. They are unmistakably his most distinctive work’ (Clemens Weiler, in: Jawlensky, Köpfe Gesichter Meditationen, Hanau 1970, p. 23). This impressively linear composition, which is typical of the Constructivist faces of the 1920s, superbly exemplifies the complexity and sophistication Jawlensky attained in the ‘Meditations’ series. He confronts the viewer with a face, any face, which, cipher-like in being reduced to its essential elements, has become an archetype, a sign for man as such. In rejecting space, he has generated an immateriality which emphasizes the spiritual dimension. In calling this work ‘The Saviour’s Face’, Jawlensky reveals his reasons for concentrating on the human face: ‘Then I had to find a form for the face because I had understood that great art can only be painted with religious feelings. And I could only put them into the human countenance. I realized that the artist must say in his art by means of forms and colours what is divine in him. That is why the work of art is God manifest and art in yearning for God’ (Alexei von Jawlensky, in: exhib. cat. Alexej von Jawlensky, Munich/Baden-Baden 1983, p. 28). Jawlensky succeeds, and in this he is the equal of the icons of his native Russia, in symbolizing man in a sign-like iconic language. In continually reverting to the same theme, in repetitive concentration on form and colour, in meditating on the human countenance, Jawlensky probes the depths and essence of human existence. In his hands the creative process resembles that practised by Paul Cézanne or Giorgio Morandi, who also concentrated on a very limited range of motifs and geometric forms in order to investigate the potential for making forceful statements inherent in colours combined with simple form. Using the principle of the series, the meditative internalisation of always the same theme, Jawlensky was trying to create a link, a statement on the secret of life couched in visual terms.

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