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Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus bu… Read more
Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941)


Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941)
signed 'AJ' (lower left); dated '35' (lower right); and signed again, numbered and dated 'A. Jawlensky 1935 Juli N22 J.' (on the reverse of the Artist's mount.)
oil on linen finish card laid down on the artist's mount
5¼ x 7¼in. (13 x 18.5cm.) image
12¾ x 97/8in. (32.2 x 25.5cm.) the artist's mount
Painted in July 1935
Galka Scheyer, Hollywood by whom acquired directly from the Artist. John Cage, Los Angeles, by whom acquired from the above on 7 February 1935.
Xenia K. Cage, New York, from whom inherited by the present owner.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

On 8 February 1935 Galka Scheyer wrote a letter to Jawlensky. She described how a 23 year-old music student and composer, John Cage, studying under Arnold Schönberg, had seen a 1931 Abstrakter Kopf on view at a concert and had come to Scheyer enthusiastically asking if he could buy a similar example. In her letter Scheyer describes the encounter thus, "I have to tell you a charming story. A young, very gifted composer who is going to study with Arnold Schönberg brought back your 'Poesie des Abends' (Poetry of the Evening) yesterday evening.... I showed him your new heads. He was thrilled and asked how much they were. He is very poor and is being trained without paying tuition because he is so gifted. Because I know you and because of the genuine excitement which is so wonderful to witness in youth, I made him a very cheap price of $25.00. He already made an installment of $1.00. Isn't that sweet? But he said he would pay the rest soon. Anyhow, it was a pleasure for me and he said he would write to you. The visit of this youngster John Cage was a pleasure of a kind which has become rare." (Quoted in M. Müller, 'It is a Long, Long Road', John Cage and Galka Scheyer", in V. E. Barnett, ed. and J. Helfenstein, in exh. cat., The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsy and Klee in the New World, Bern, Kunstmuseum, 1997, p. 273 (illustrated fig. 1).
John Cage probably first met Galka Scheyer at the home of Louise and Walter Arensberg, whose house and collection was always open to anyone interested in art. Their friendship and joint passion for the work of the Blaue Reiter group developed to such an extent that in 1939 Cage helped Scheyer organise an exhibtion of the Blaue Reiter at the Cornish School of Music in Seattle. Thereafter Cage assisted Scheyer with other one-man exhibitions of Klee, Kandinsky and Jawlensky on the U.S. West Coast.

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