Friday, August 28, 2015

Portraits of Women - The Evolution of Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) images of women



 1902 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Young Woman with Lilacs

Alexej von Jawlensky was born in Russia. At the age of ten he moved with his family to Moscow. After a few years of military training, he became interested in painting, visiting the Moscow World Exposition c. 1880. Thanks to his good social connections, he managed to get himself posted to St. Petersburg and, from 1889 to 1896, studied at the art academy there, while also discharging his military duties.


 1909 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Inclined Head

I was taken to see the 1880 World Exhibition in Moscow (in 1880, ed.). I found it all very boring. But when I came to a section devoted to art – there were only paintings, and this was the first time of my life (16 years old) I had seen paintings – I was so deeply affected that it was a case of Saul becoming Paul. It was the turning point of my life. Even since then art has been my ideal, my holy of holies, that for which my entire soul and my entire self yearn.


 1910 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Dark Blue Turban



 1910 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Helene in Colord Turban



 1910 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Lady in Yellow Staw Hat

In the spring of 1911 Marianne von Werefkin (his study-mate in Russia and his art muse for 15 years, ed.) Andrei, Helene and I went to Prerow on the Baltic. For me that summer meant a great step forward in my art. I painted my finest landscapes there as well as large figure paintings in powerful, glowing colours and not at all naturalistic or objective. I used a great deal of red, blue, orange, cadmium yellow and chromium-oxide green. My forms were very strongly contoured in Prussian blue, and came with tremendous power from an inner ecstasy. ‘der Buckel’, ‘Violetter Turban’, ‘Selbstporträt’…were created in this way. It was a turning-point in my art. It was in these years, up to 1914, just before the war, that I painted my most powerful works, referred to as the pre-war works.


 1911 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Spanish Woman



 1911 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Violet Turban



 1912 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Blue Cap



 1913 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Earth



 1913 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Woman with Black Hair



 1916 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Dreaming Head



 1916 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Neoplitan Girl

At first I intended to carry on working in St. Prex (in Switzerland, around 1914 – 1915, fh) in the same way I had been working in Munich. But something inside me prevented me from painting colourful, sensuous pictures. Suffering had changed my soul, telling me to find other forms and colours to express what was on my mind.


 1916 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Woman from St Prex



 1917 Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Mystical Head Yellow Mouth within Violet 

I painted these ‘Variations’ for some years and then I found it necessary to find form for the face, because I had come to understand that great art can only be painted with religious feeling. And that, I could only bring to the human face. I understood that the artist must express through his art, in forms and colours, the divine in him. Therefore a work of art is God made visible and art is "a longing for God."


 1917 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Mystical Head

In a letter to his brother Dimitri, probably around 1917/18, the artist wrote, I am now mainly painting faces and landscapes; I am obsessed day and night by the vision of faces and colors. And the spiritual vision is my mystical world.



1917 Alexej von Jawlensky (Russian artist, 1864-1941) Mystical Head



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