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Alexej von Jawlensky (1864 – 1941)

Russian Expressionist painter active in Germany.
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Alexej von Jawlensky
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.
Jawlensky quotes
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’.
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.

Jawlensky Alexej von quotes
I am less interested in searching for new forms, but I do wish to become more profound.
Jawlensky Alexej von
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.
Alexej von Jawlensky quotes
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’.
Alexej von Jawlensky
Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding
Jawlensky Alexej von quotes
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.
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