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Alexei Jawlensky, Russian (active Germany), 1864–1941
Oil on cardboard
Made in
Germany, Europe
Current Location
Not on view
26 x 19 3/4 in. (66 x 50.2 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of Morton D. May
Public Domain
Object Number
Alexei von Jawlensky represents an abstracted portrait of a woman with almond-shaped eyes and bright red nose, lips, and cheeks; the intense yellow of the background echoes the color around her mouth and forehead. A member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), Jawlensky affirmed, “The face is not just a face but the whole universe.” Here his luminous color evokes the spring season and is suggestive of new life and awakening. Jawlensky’s frontal composition also indicates the influence of icons from his homeland of Russia.
- still in 1936/1937
Alexei von Jawlensky (1867-1941), Wiesbaden, Germany [1]

Emmy Galka Scheyer (1889-1945), Hollywood, CA, USA, acquired from the artist [2]

- 1960
New Gallery (Eugene V. Thaw), New York, NY

1960 - 1983
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Eugene V. Thaw [3]

1983 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, bequest of Morton D. May [4]

The main source for this provenance is the catalogue raisonné compiled by the artist's wife and daughters [Jawlensky, Maria, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky, and Angelica Jawlensky. "Alexej von Jawlensky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings. Volume One, 1890-1914." London: Sotheby's Publications, 1991, cat. no. 503]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] The artist settled in Wiesbaden in 1921. This painting was included in the artist's photo archive that was compiled in Wiesbaden in 1936/1937. It consists for the most part of black and white photographs of paintings and drawings which were in the artist's studio at that time [letter from Angelica Jawlensky Bianconi dated September 30, 2002, SLAM document files].

[2] Emmy Galka Scheyer was an art collector and dealer who befriended Jawlensky and the other members of the artist group The Blue Four, and did much to promote their work in the United States. Jawlensky met Scheyer in 1916, and periodically sent her paintings until the late 1930s.

[3] May purchased the painting from the New Gallery, June 2, 1960 [May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[4] Last Will and Testament of M. D. May dated June 11, 1982 [copy, May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 20, 1983.
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