Alexej von Jawlensky

Self-portrait, 1905

Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky (March 13, 1864March 15, 1941) was a Russian Expressionist painter active in Germany.

SourcedEdit

  • In the spring of 1911... ...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.
    • his memoirs, written in 1938; as quoted in Alexej von Jawlensky Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; 25/9 – 27/11-1994, pp. 77/275


  • I knew that I must paint not what I saw, but only what was in me, in my soul. Figuratively speaking, it was like this: In my heart I felt as if there were an organ, which I had to sound. And nature, which I saw before me, only prompted me. And that was a key that unlocked this organ and made it sound… …They are songs without words.
    • his memoirs, written in 1938; as quoted in Alexej von Jawlensky Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; 25/9 – 27/11-1994, p. 186 (art quotes, Alexej von Jawlensky)


  • I sat in my studio and painted, and did not need Nature as a prompter (after 1921, when he painted the series ‘Abstrakter Kopf’ –abstract Head, fh). I only had to immerse myself in myself, pray, and prepare my soul to a state of religious awareness. I painted many, many ‘Faces’.
    • Alexej von Jawlensky'’, Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; 25/9 – 27/11-1994, p. 186


  • 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’.
    • artist quotations from a letter to the Fauvist Dutch painter, father Willibrord Verkade, 12 june 1938; as quoted in ’Alexej von Jawlensky’, Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; 25/9 – 27/11-1994, p. 150


  • My art in the last period has all been in small format, but my paintings have become even deeper and more spiritual, speaking truly through colour. Feeling that because of my illness I would not be able to paint very much longer, I worked like a man obsessed on these little ‘Meditations’ (a long series of small paintings he made during the last years of his life, with as main motif the schema of a face, ed.). And now I leave these small but, to me, important works to the future and to people who love art.
    • 'Lebenserinnerungen' 1938, Alexej von Jawlensky; as quoted in Alexej von Jawlensky, Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; exhibition catalogue 25/9 – 27/11-1994, p. 23


  • Every artist works within a tradition. I am a native of Russia. My Russian soul has always been close to the art of old Russia, the Russian icons, Byzantine art, the mosaics in Ravenna, Venice, Rome, and to Romanesque art. All these artworks produced a religious vibration in my soul, as I sensed in them a deep spiritual language. This art was my tradition.
    • his letter to the National Socialist State cultural administration (to ask permission to exhibit his work, which was turned down, ed.) 1939; as quoted in Alexej von Jawlensky, Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; 25/9 – 27/11-1994, p. 24


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Last modified on 20 April 2014, at 15:43