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Variation: Blue Fairy Tale, 1915-1916

Alexei Jawlensky

Russian, 1864-1941
Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard
12-1/4 x 9-7/8 in. (31.1 x 25.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

There was a profound change in Jawlensky's work after 1914. The artist explained part of the reason, writing that after the outbreak of World War I they had to flee to Switzerland, "with only that which we could carry, and we came to St. Prex. . . I had only a little room with one window to work in . . . I wanted to continue to paint my powerful, intensely colored pictures, but I felt that I couldn't. My soul did not permit me this sensual kind of painting . . . I had to find another language, a more spiritual language . . . . I sat in front of my window. Before me I saw a path, a few trees, and from time to time a mountain in the distance. I now began to seek a new way in art. It was an enormous task. I realized that I must paint not what I saw, not even what I felt, but only that which lived within me, in my soul . . . . and the nature which I had before me was only my prompter.

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