Alexej Von Jawlensky Biography | Oil Paintings
3-13-1864 Torzhok, RUS – 3-15-1941 Wiesbaden, GERBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
At the age of ten, Alexej von Jawlensky moved with his family to Moscow. He joined the army at a young age, one day while visiting the Moscow World Exposition 1880, what he saw there made him become interested in painting. Because of his parents and his good social connections, he got himself posted to the St. Petersburg garrison, where there was a good art academy in the city, and from 1889 to 1896, while still in the army, he studied at the art academy. There he met Ilya Repin and became friendly with his circle of friends. One of Repin's former students and also a wealthy artist herself, four years older than Jawlensly, gave up her career to promote his work and provide him with a comfortable lifestyle.
Free of financial worries to pursue his artistic vision, he moved to Munich in 1894 at the age of twenty, where he studied in the private school of Anton Ažbe. In 1905 Alexej von Jawlensky visited Ferdinand Hodler, and two years later he began his long friendship with Jan Verkade and met Paul Sérusier. Together, Verkade and Sérusier transmitted to Jawlensky both pragmatic and hypothetical components elements of the work of the Nabis and Synthetist principles of art.
His travels in Europe and especially France introduced Jawlensky to the modern art developments. In 1907 he met Henri Matisse in Paris and worked for a short time in his art studio. After his return to Munich, he met Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and various other Russian ex-patriot artists. During this time, his art became more brightly colored and started to become more abstract and simplified. He joined the group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) most avant-garde artist group at that time, formed by Kandinsky which also included Franz Marc and August Macke and to a lesser degree Aleksey von Jawlensky.
Following a trip to the Baltic coast, and renewed contact with Henri Matisse in 1911 and Emil Nolde in 1912, Alexej von Jawlensky turned increasingly to the expressive use of color and form for his portrait paintings. After a hiatus in experimentation with the human form, Alexej von Jawlensky produced his best-known paintings, the Mystical Head, and a series of thirty-four different Saviour’s Faces, which are reminiscent of the conventional Russian Orthodox icons of his childhood.
Expelled from Germany in 1914 at the beginning of World War I, he moved to Switzerland. He met Emmy Galka Scheyer in 1916, another female artist who gave up her artistic career to promote his art in the United States. In 1924 he organized the Blue Four, with avant-garde artists Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee, named to reflect their earlier association with the Blue Rider group. The same year 1924 Scheyer brought the work of the Blue Four to America, exhibiting the works in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, thereby exposing this new modern art to the USA.
Alexej von Jawlensky's Schokko With Wide-Brimmed Hat sold for US$9,300,000 in 2003 and five years later for double the price.
Art Movement: Expressionism.
Artists Influencing Alexej von Jawlensky: Anton Ažbe, Jan Verkade, Paul Sérusier.
He Traveled To France, Germany, Switzerland.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.