Marianne von Werefkin - Akt mit Armen hinter dem Kopf. Verso: Akt (each Helene Nesnakomoff)
Marianne von Werefkin
Akt mit Armen hinter dem Kopf. Verso: Akt (each Helene Nesnakomoff)
Gouache and pen and ink drawing resp. verso sanguine and pen and ink drawing, on light grey machine-made laid paper 19.3 x 24.5 cm Unsigned. - Minor browning.
Helene Nesnakomoff (1886-1965), whom Marianne von Werefkin has depicted here twice, was the artist's housekeeper and her only nude model. She had already entered the household of the wealthy von Werefkin family in Lithuania in 1895; that is where Alexei von Jawlensky, who had been Marianne von Werefkin's lover since 1892, met Helene during a visit. Werefkin and Jawlensky moved to Munich one year later, and Helene accompanied the couple as their personal servant. A ménage à trois developed between them, and in 1902 a son was born to Jawlensky and Helene. The two married in Wiesbaden in 1922 after the separation from Werefkin. Helene often posed as a model for both artists, and various portraits of her exist.
In these two works the artist has used quick, confident strokes to draw the woman to whom she was tied in such an explosive manner. Helene's seemingly Japanese hairstyle featuring a bun can be recognised in the gouache on the recto of the sheet: it may illustrate Werefkin's interest in Japanese art, which she shared with many fellow artists.
With a certificate by Bernd Fäthke, Wiesbaden, dated 25 May 2019
Inheritance of Marianne von Werefkin to her nephew Alexander von Werefkin; gift from him to private possession, Hesse
Bietigheim-Bissingen/Bremen 2014 (Städtische Galerie/Museen Böttcherstraße, Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum), Marianne Werefkin. Vom Blauen Reiter zum Großen Bären, cat. no. 26 with illus. ("Akt, Helene mit blauen Strümpfen")