Alexej von Jawlensky

Monogrammed at the bottom left: A.J.

On the back, a sticker with a dedication in pencil reads:

“To Dr. Stegemann, my Christmas greeting, A. Jawlensky.”

Another sticker with the label:

“N.2. Also, a label from Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York. Catalogue Raisonné: Jawlensky 600”

and stickers from the Schäfer Collection, Schweinfurt.


Dr. Marga Stegemann, Dresden (gift from the artist, early 1920s)

Dr. Ferdinand Ziersch, Wuppertal

Galerie Franz Resch, Gauting

Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt (acquired from Resch in 1969)

Christie’s auction of his collection, London, 27 June 1978, lot 2

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York

Private collection, Austria

Christie’s, London, 5 February 2009, lot 409

Ketterer Kunst, Munich, 10 December 2011, lot 29

Villa Grisebach, Berlin, 31 May 2019, lot 534A


Masterpieces of the 20th Century. Düsseldorf, Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, 1967, ill. p. 6

Erbslöh and His Circle. Cologne, Galerie Aenne Abels, 1968, cat. no. 31, ill.

Jawlensky & Major German Expressionists. New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, 1980/81, cat. no. 7, color ill. p. 19

The outbreak of the First World War forces Alexej von Jawlensky, a former lieutenant in the Russian army, to leave Germany.

He emigrates to Switzerland, where he settles in St. Prex on Lake Geneva with his companion Marianne von Werefkin, Helene

Nesnakomoff, and his son Andreas. Disturbed by this experience and the human catastrophe of the war, he withdraws and

devotes himself to painting landscapes, satisfying his need for contemplation during this time. The formats become smaller.

In a letter to his friend Jan Verkade many years later, he recalls: “My soul had become different through much suffering, and

that demanded finding different forms and colors to express what moved my soul… I understood that I didn’t have to paint

what I saw, not even what I felt, but only what lived within me, in my soul…” (quoted from: Clemens Weiler: Alexej von

Jawlensky, the painter, and human being, letter from June 12, 1938, p. 39ff, Wiesbaden 1955).

The painting “Landscape Lake Geneva” was also created during this phase. It is one of Jawlensky’s rarer works that were

created in landscape format, as dictated by the lake, mountains, and sky. However, the precise topographic depiction of the

landscape is not the primary focus here; rather, it is the variation of colors, forms, and swiftly executed yet assured brushstrokes.

Contrasts dominate the composition: tones of brown, sand, red, and violet alternate with various shades of blue and turquoise.

The almost vertical lines in the foreground and the jagged peaks in the upper third of the composition make the pastel tones

of the sky and water surface appear even more serene and gentle. Everything, it seems, flows past the rugged, dark chain of

rocks that divides the painting into two halves.

Yet, the changing moods of nature are not simply translated into colors. They are an expression of a deep spirituality that

moves and gives meaning to the individual in various ways: “I felt within me, in my chest,” Jawlensky notes, “an organ,

and I had to make it sound. And the nature before me only whispered to me. And that was a key that unlocked this organ

and made it sound” (quoted from the same source).