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Black Tree - Bordighera, 1914

Alexei Jawlensky

Russian, 1864-1941
Oil on cardboard
20-7/8 x 19-3/8 in. (53.0 x 49.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
© Norton Simon Museum

On view

The Mediterranean resort of Bordighera, famous for its sunshine and palm trees, had already been portrayed many times by the Impressionists Monet and Renoir when Jawlensky traveled there on holiday in March 1914. Painted on the back of this sheet is a sunny interior with an open window, perhaps the artist’s hotel room. Though a bright green spray of palm fronds occupies the center foreground of the recto composition, more somber colors—for stone pines, rooftops, and the sea—predominate. A Russian citizen, Jawlensky had settled in Munich in 1896 and begun exhibiting with the Expressionist Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group there in 1912; he was expelled from Germany a few months after painting this picture, upon the outbreak of World War I.

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