Alexej von Jawlensky - Grosses Stilleben (Zwei rote Blumen in blauer Vase)
Alexej von Jawlensky
Grosses Stilleben (Zwei rote Blumen in blauer Vase)
oil on cardboard 30 x 16,1 cm - Entlang der Ränder mit einzelnen kleinen Bestoßungen.
From 1929 onwards, Jawlensky was plagued by painful arthritis that was accompanied by increasing signs of paralysis, including the joints of his hands. In spite of this handicap - dramatic for any artist - and his increasing age, he was able to accommodate his painting technique to this new situation. He proceeded to produce an important series of small-format paintings, above all the 'Meditations'. In 1937, Jawlensky painted his last works. During the times when he was not in pain, he devoted himself to flower still lifes which, according to him, were especially appealing to the public because of their beautiful colours (cf. Alexej von Jawlensky, Lebenserinnerungen, 1937, dictated to Lisa Kümmel, in: exhib. cat. Alexej von Jawlensky. Reisen, Freunde, Wandlungen, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund 1998, ed. T. Belgin, p. 119). That he turned to a popular subject is understandable - on the one hand, it provided him with a certain amount of consolation, and, on the other hand, he urgently needed to sell works due to the stringent financial situation that had begun in the mid-1930s. In 1937, as a result of the National Socialist dictatorship, 72 of his pictures were removed from public collections.
The initially puzzling title, 'Large Flower Still Life', originates from the fact that Jawlensky's condition at that moment had made it possible for him to choose a slightly larger format for this work. In order to make the painting process easier, he often had the linen-textured painting paper glued onto a stable support. As in painting the 'Meditations', he had the brush tied to his hand, since his stiff fingers were no longer able to grasp anything. In this period, in spite of such an enormous limitation, Jawlensky created works that - though sometimes attesting to melancholy - display an incredible vitality and a tremendous will to live. The flower still life has been reduced to just a few, but vigorous, brushstrokes. Once more, the artist succeeded in creating a painting with intense colours, even if its deep blue tones give it a more internalised nature. The transparency of the colours and the dominant vertical brushstrokes make this work comparable to the 'Meditations'.
Formerly private possession, Wiesbaden, acquired directly from the artist; private possession
Clemens Weiler, Alexej Jawlensky, Cologne 1959, no. 788 ("Zwei rote Blumen in blauer Vase")
Wiesbaden 1948 (Galerie Hillesheimer), Jawlensky (solo exhibition), cat. no. 42; Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall, loan (before 2006); Greifswald, Pommersches Landesmuseum, deposit and loan 2006-2010