Alexei Jawlensky was an integral member of the avant-garde in Munich in the early twentieth century. Together with the artist Marianne von Werefkin, he hosted a salon that included several Russian émigré artists. One of these was Vasily Kandinsky, who became a close confidant. Their summer sojourn to the lakeside Bavarian town of Murnau in 1908 was a crucial moment in the development in modern art. This was where the lessons of Vincent van Gogh—the move toward the use of pure color as an expressive vehicle—were first adopted in earnest, and quickly came into full flower.
Jawlensky believed in art as a spiritual calling, and his later work involved a series of canvases known as Mystical Heads, Savior’s Faces, and Abstract Heads, which represented his search for an essential form conveying humility before a higher power.
To assemble this important exhibition of an artist’s career spanning nearly fifty years, we have turned to esteemed curator, author, and newly elected Neue Galerie board member Vivian Endicott Barnett. She has brought her deep knowledge of the subject to bear in her extensive preparation of this exhibition, and tirelessly pursued key loans that present the most complete picture of Jawlensky.
Director, Neue Galerie New York