Alexej von Jawlensky

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Alexei von Jawlensky)
Jump to: navigation, search
Self-portrait, 1905

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

Quotes of Alexej von Jawlensky[edit]

Life Memories (1938)[edit]

Alexej von Jawlensky, Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam; exhibition catalog 25/9 – 27/11-1994 (a. o. his life quotes from 'Lebenserinnerungen' ['Life Memories'] he dictated late in his life, in 1938)

  • I was taken to see the World Exhibition in Moscow [in 1880]. 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 [Jawlensky was 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 holiest, that for which my entire soul and my entire self yearn.
    • p. 20
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • From then on [1880] I used to go to the Tretyakov Gallery [in Moscow] every Sunday, arriving very early and staying there without eating until closing time at three o'clock. It was a tremendous experience for me, like going to church. Indeed, I felt as if I were in a temple.
    • p.274
    • from his Memories, in 'Catalogue Raisonné of the oil Paintings', ed. Maria Jawlensky, Angelica Jawlensky and Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky; published resp. in 1991, 1992, 1993
  • Since 1929 I have suffered from an extremely painful disease [arthritis deformans] which gets worse every year. Little by little my arms and hands have become stiff and bent and I have terrible pain. This stiffness in my elbows and wrists has tremendously hindered my painting and I have had to find a new technique. 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.
    • p. 23
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • 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.
    • p. 24
    • quote from his letter to the National Socialist State Cultural administration, 1939 - to get permission to exhibit his art, which was turned down by the Nazi regime
  • In the Spring of 1911 w:Marianne von Werefkin (his former study-mate in Russia and in fact his first wife, but not married; Marianne was his great inspiration / art muse for 15 years] 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 [World War 1.], that I painted my most powerful works, referred to as the pré-war works.
    • p. 77
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • At first I intended to carry on working in St. Prex [in Switzerland, circa 1914 – 1915] in the same way I had been working in Munich [location of his Blaue Reiter / Blue Rider period]. 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.
    • p. 149
    • from: 'Köpfe, Gesichte, Meditationen', Clemens Weiler
  • I am now mainly painting faces and landscapes; I am obsessed day and night by the vision of faces and colours. And the spiritual vision is my mystical world.
    • p. 150
    • Quote of Jawlensky in a letter to his brother Dimitri, circa 1917/18
  • 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'.
    • p. 150
    • quote from his letter to the Fauvist Dutch painter, father Willibrord Verkade, 12 june 1938
  • 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.
    • p. 186
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • 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']. I only had to immerse myself in myself, pray, and prepare my soul to a state of religious awareness. I painted many, many 'Faces'.
    • p. 186
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • It was very tiny, our house [St. Prex, in Switzerland, lake Genova, where Jawlensky concentrated himself on the view around his house for years – this was after 1914, when he and his wife Marianne von Werefkin departed from Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter in Murnau. Jawlensky painted his more than 400 'Variations on a landscape theme' in St. Prex], and I had no room for my own, only a window, which I could call mine. But I was so gloomy and unhappy in my soul after all those dreadful experiences, that I was quite content to sit at the window and quietly collect my thoughts and feelings. I had a bit of paint but no easel, so I went into Lausanne – twenty minutes on the train – and bought a small easel from a photographer.. .It was highly unsuitable for painting but for more than twenty years I have painted my best work on that little easel.
    • p. 186
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • My art in the last period [till 1937! Then Jawlensky couldn’t paint any longer because of severe arthritis] has all been in small format, but my paintings have become even deeper and more spiritual, speaking purely through colour.. .And now I leave these small – but to me – important works to the future and to the people who love art.
    • p. 249
    • from: 'Lebenserinnerungen', 1938
  • When we had been in Ashenstovo [1873, located near the Prussian border]] a few days my mother took us children to see a famous Polish church, Kostjol, famous for its miraculous Madonna icon. This icon had three precious coats, one of gold, one of coral and one with pearls and diamonds.. .Many peasant men and women were were lying prostrate on the floor as if crucified, with their arms outstretched. It was very quiet. Suddenly a great blare of trumpets shattered the silence. Terribly frightened I saw the gold curtain open and the Madonna appear wearing a gold robe.
    • p.274
    • from his Memories, in 'Catalogue Raisonné of the oil Paintings', ed. Maria Jawlensky, Angelica Jawlensky and Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky; published resp. in 1991, 1992, 1993

Quotes about Alexej von Jawlensky[edit]

  • You are the painter of the human soul. I know of no other modern painter of the human soul.
  • They [Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Paul Klee, in their Der Blaue Reiter-period till 1914] were constantly arguing about art and each of them, at first, had his own ideas and his own style. Jawlensky was far less intellectual than Kandinsky or Klee and was often frankly puzzled by their theories. My 1908 portrait entitled 'Zuhören' ['Listening'] actually represents Jawlensky, with an expression of puzzled astonishment on his chubby face, listening to Kandinsky’s new theories of art.
    • Gabriele Münter in a late interview 1958; as quoted in 'Dialogues – conversations with European Artists at Mid-century' Edouard Roditi, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, London, 1990, p. 117
  • .. we parted in 1914, when Kandinsky, being an enemy alien [because of the outbreak of World War 1. - he had Russian nationality], had to flee from Germany to Switzerland, as did Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin too [Switzerland].. ..Ever since we parted in 1914, I have worked mainly by myself. After the First World War, here in Munich, we found that our Blue Rider group had broken up. Marc and Macke had both been killed [World War 1.], Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Marianne were no longer here; Bloch and Burliuk were in America. Besides.. ..we had always been individualists and out Blue Rider group never had a style of its own as uniform as that of the Paris cubists.
    • Gabriele Münter in a late interview, 1958; as quoted in 'Dialogues – conversations with European Artists at Mid-century' Edouard Roditi, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, London, 1990, p. 121
  • Yes, we [= Marianne von Werefkin and Gabriéle Münter] shared very much the same tastes and ideas, when we lived together in this house (the 'Russian house' in Murnau]. She was extremely perceptive and intelligent, but Alexej von Jawlensky (Marianne's husband', but not married] didn’t always approve of her work.. ..Suddenly Jawlensky would pick on some tiny detail of one of Marianne’s best and most original pictures and exclaim: 'That patch of color, there, is laid on much too flat and smoothly. It’s just like old Riepin [Russian painter [[w:Ilya Repin], and former art teacher of them both]. Of course it was nonsense and he was only saying it to annoy her. But Jawlensky really was a devotee of the touche de peinture of the French Fauvists, rather than an innovator - a believer in a new kind of art of the future.
    • Gabriele Münter in a late interview 1958; as quoted in 'Dialogues – conversations with European Artists at Mid-century' Edouard Roditi, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, London, 1990, p. 118-119
  • Why do you [= Marianne von Werefkin, herself] no longer work? Why work again? Faith has left me – the habit of putting myself into the background, has done the rest. Am I a true artist? Yes, yes, yes. Am I a woman? Alas. Yes, yes, yes. Are the two [Jawlensky and she] able to work as a pair? No, no, no. Who will take up the desires -?.. ..The work of my life, this talent [her love Jawlensky] that I protect with all my interest, with all my affection, it must be alone in the dwelling. Reason says, calm yourself. But the great passion in me, and my call to work, destroys all the calm acquisitions of my life.
    • Marianne von Werefkin, in her writings 'Lettres à un Inconnu, 1901 – 1905', Vol 1 'My beautiful One, My Unique!', Marianne von Werefkin, Museo Communale, Ascona; as quoted in "Voicing our visions, -Writings by women artists", ed. by Mara R. Witzling, Universe New York, 1991, p. 132
  • ..Oh my dear friend [Jawlensky / 'The Unknown', in her Letters], you whose voice called me towards my beautiful past, oh how I love you because you are young, you serve the idea, you understand the beauty of a life devoted completely to abstraction. Oh the devil you have done me, and the good of this devil. There is an atrocious page in my existence.. .I am not a woman. Neither love nor the family satisfies me. I don’t like the baby. I detest the household. I love all works of the human genius, I adore art the beauties of nature and of the heart. The beautiful, the beautiful in all such as love and such as life.
    • Marianne von Werefkin, in her writings 'Lettres à un Inconnu, 1901 – 1905', Vol 1 'My beautiful One, My Unique!', Marianne von Werefkin, Museo Communale, Ascona; as quoted in "Voicing our visions, -Writings by women artists", ed. by Mara R. Witzling, Universe New York, 1991, p. 132

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: