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Alexej von Jawlensky

Meditation

oil on linen-finish paper on cardboard
1935
19 x 13 cm / 7 1/2 x 5 1/8 in.
signed lower left and dated lower right verso signed, dated and numbered 'VI N. 31'

Created between 1934 and 1937, the "Meditations" form the last important body of work by Alexej von Jawlensky. The artist himself regarded them as his crowning achievement and indeed, they are outstanding not only in their formal concentration as the quintessence of his life-long efforts as a painter, but also with regard to the circumstances under which they were created and their recourse to painterly traditions. Here again, the artist limited himself to a strictly defined repertoire of forms, which he varied in ever new colour compositions and accentuated by the lines of the internal drawing and the different areas of colour. Compared with the "Abstract Heads", here the contours were reduced even further - there are no markings for the chin area, hair strands or the like. Only the most minimal signs denoting a face remained - a double cross for the nose, the eye area and the mouth. He thereby succeeded to imbue these works with maximum expressive power, diversity of representation and difference in character. The search for a true or even just adequate representation for the metaphysical spirit informing his notion of a transcendental spiritualism, which he himself simply termed "religious", reached its culmination in these images.

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