Wladimir von Bechtejeff
oil on cardboard on canvas
49,8 x 73 cm (19 1/2 x 28 3/4 in.)
signed with monogram lower left
Wladimir von Bechtejeff came back to Munich from Paris in 1909 and immersed himself in the German avant-garde, but always carried the experience of French painting with him. His circus scene is exemplary of this artistic amalgam that makes Bechtejeff's painting unique. The theme of the circus, albeit a parade motif of all classical modernism, from Kirchner and Heckel to Picasso and Chagall, was particularly close to Bechtejeff: he returned to Russia in 1921, and for a short time he was also the artistic director of the Moscow State Circus. In his painting, created in 1910, Bechtejeff shows a moment in a horse dressage, but the meaning lies in the depiction of an artificial space - and the circus is a place that could not be more artificial - that suggests the harmony of the creatures and the universe. The intensity of the colorfulness of the circus scene, however, shows the influence of Jawlensky, who had already prompted Bechtejeff to go to Munich in 1902 and to which he joined even closer after his return from Paris in 1909. Bechtejeff belonged to the “Neue Künstlervereinigung” until 1912 and participated in ist exhibitions. He also belonged to the circle of the Blue Rider, although the influences of French painting never evaporated in his pictures. Bechtejeff is thus on the threshold between French and German Expressionism.
Wladimir von Bechtejeff • Circus Scene