Alexej Jawlensky

Alexej Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Marianne von Werefkin und der kleine Andreas in Murnau © Alexej Jawlensky Stiftung

"And I am constantly searching for my form, so I can express what I can sense in colour."

Bold-rimmed eyes fixate on the observer out of a canvas painted with brilliant colors, large flat surfaces and objects outlined with black contours. Alexej Jawlensky's style of painting was exceptional and fascinating with its color-intensive compositions. He especially found inspiration in the works by Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse and van Gogh. Influenced by their works of art and as a result of a constant artistic exchange and dialogue with Marianne von Werefkin, he developed a distinctive expressive style.

Alexej Jawlensky was born in Torshok, Russia in 1864. Since his family probably belonged to the Russian hereditary aristocracy, Jawlensky and his brothers pursued a military career in keeping with tradition. In 1881, he joined the strict cadet school of the second Moscow Cadet Corps. After graduating from military school, he was deployed to St. Petersburg as a lieutenant. There he attended the Academy of Painting under Ilja Repin where he met Marianne von Werefkin, who later became his life companion and patron. In 1896, the couple moved to Munich to attend a private art school. While living there, they became acquainted with a number of artists who they joined together with to form the New Artists' Association of Munich (NKVM) in 1909. In this period, Jawlensky also devoted his work to the French avant-garde art and travelled to France several times. Inspired by the work he had seen, he developed his personal expressive style of painting which he perfected in the summer of 1908 while he was in Murnau a. Staffelsee with Kandinsky, Münter and Werefkin. The reduction to the essential was central to his work, and to what he referred to as the "synthesis" of the impression of nature and an inner vision for this simplified visual language.

When World War I broke out, the Russian artist, together with his life companion Marianne von Werefkin, was expelled from the country. They immigrated to Switzerland and lived near Geneva and later in Zurich. When Jawlensky and Werefkin separated in 1918, Werefkin moved to Ascona on the lake Lago Maggiore while Jawlensky, feeling more drawn to Germany, moved to Wiesbaden. There he married Helene Nesnakomoff with whom he had a son. He continued to dedicate himself to art, particularly to the depiction of the human face, which he perfected in the shape of so-called meditations with strictly abstracted schemes. Alexej Jawlensky died in 1941.


The Alexej von Jawlensky Archive

The Alexej von Jawlensky-Archiv S.A. Archive based in Locarno, Switzerland was founded in 1988. As the proprietor of the copyrights to the artistic estate of Alexej von Jawlensky and Andreas Nesnakomoff Jawlensky, the archive has set itself the task of categorizing the works and materials associated with the life of Alexej von Jawlensky and making them accessible to members of the public with competence and an interest in art. You can also obtain information on the archive's website.

Alexej von Jawlensky-Archiv S.A.

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