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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
© Norton Simon Museum

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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