Alexej von Jawlensky
oil on canvas on cardboard
37,7 x 27,1 cm (14 7/8 x 10 2/4 in.)
signed with monogram lower left, dated lower right verso signed, dated, titled and inscribed 'No. 26' and '167'
After the 'Mystic Heads' and the 'Saviour Heads', the 'Abstract Heads', painted between 1918 and 1933, are the next logical step in Jawlensky's abstraction and his move towards colour field painting. They show an increasing contemplation, the gaze of the eyes, now closed, is turned inwards, the colours reflect the sentiments expressed in the titles. Jawlensky follows the traditional rendering of Christ's face in Russian icons. But while the exact copying of the Ur-icon assures that its spiritual power is transferred to the new icon, Jawlensky intuitively invests the schematic repetition of each work with new meaning. The repeated formula only serves as a loose framework, as he was never interested in new shapes, but in a depth of expression.