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Variation: Overture, c.1919

Alexei Jawlensky

Russian, 1864-1941
Oil and pencil on textured wove paper mounted on thin cardboard
14-3/8 x 10-5/8 in. (36.5 x 27.0 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.132
© 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

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Jawlensky's Variations are colored, almost abstract meditations upon a few unchanging forms distilled from tree shapes. They clearly foreshadow the icon-like quality of his later work, with its eternal repetition of meditative signs. In a letter he wrote to Galka Scheyer in 1919, Jawlensky said, "Klee did not approve of. . .my pictures. . . .he said they are too intellectual, too thought out. I think all of that is wrong."

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