25 Mar, 2021

Alexey von Yavlensky – expressionist painter

Alexey Georgievich von Yavlensky was born (13) on March 25, 1864 in Torzhok. He was a Russian guards officer, but he was attracted to painting. In the end, he decided to leave military service and devote himself entirely to painting.

Alexey was a student of Ilya Repin at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.

In 1896 he moved to Munich, where, together with Wassily Kandinsky, he entered the art studio of Anton Azhbe.

In 1902, his son Andrei was born, whose mother was the artist’s beloved Elena Neznakomova.

After Munich realism, he painted in the style of Van Gogh until 1908, when, under the influence of French artists, he developed his own style of color, which he retained until the outbreak of the First World War.

In 1909, he founded the New Munich Artistic Association, which preceded the Blue Horseman, a group formed by Kandinsky and Franz Mark, and to which Jawlensky himself was closely associated. He exhibited his work in conjunction with the work of the group’s artists.

In 1914, after the outbreak of the war, Jawlensky had to leave Germany and move to Switzerland. Here he began his “Variations” – a series of works devoted to landscape themes.

In Wiesbaden, Jawlensky met the collector and philanthropist Heinrich Kirchhoff, who began to support him financially. In 1924, together with Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lionel Feininger, he founded the Blue Four, which held exhibitions in Germany and the USA.

Since 1927, he was constantly tormented by arthritis. Since 1929, the artist’s hands and knee joints have become paralyzed. It was during this difficult period that the series “Meditations” appeared – the pinnacle of all the work of Alexei Yavlensky. The human face – the object of the artist’s close attention – reaches an extreme degree of abstraction, being at the same time an image of both a face and a cross.

To work in spite of a progressive illness, Yavlensky had to tie his hand to his motionless hands – otherwise he could no longer work. And yet it is more surprising that in the last three years of his work, the master was able to write more than 1600 “Meditations”.

Alexey Georgievich von Jawlensky died on March 15, 1941 in Wiesbaden (Germany), where he was buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery