Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

Roter Hut (Red Hat)
Sold

About the item

Throughout his career, Jawlensky often returned to the subject of the face as a means of exploring the range of human emotion. Executed in 1912, Roter Hut is a bold Expressionist composition and a powerful example of the artist’s rendering of this motif. The model is Helene Nesnakomoff (fig. 1), who used to be the housemaid of Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin when they were living in Munich and Murnau. Jawlensky eventually started an affair with Helene, with whom he had a son Andreas born in 1902. Helene, Marianne von Werefkin and Jawlensky lived together in the same household until 1921 when Jawlensky officially separated from Werefkin. \nRoter Hut reflects the many stylistic influences that shaped Jawlensky’s art and contributed to the development of German Expressionist painting. Around the time he created this work, Jawlensky was living in Munich and worked closely with Kandinsky, who founded Der Blaue Reiter in 1912. Jawlensky’s reliance upon colour as a means of visual expression derived from the examples of the Fauve painters working in France. Jawlensky first met these artists, including Matisse and Van Dongen, shortly after the Fauves’ seminal exhibition at the Salon d’Automne of 1905. He was inspired by their wild colouration and expressive brushwork, and between 1909 and 1911 the works of these artists had a profound impact on his painting. Like Matisse, who famously remarked: ‘I used color as means of expressing my emotion and not as a transcription of nature’, Jawlensky believed that colour communicated the complex emotions of his subjects (quoted in Jacqueline & Maurice Guillaud, Matisse: Rhythm and Line, New York, 1987, p. 24).\n\nVolker Rattemeyer wrote about the influences of Fauve artists visible in Jawlensky’s portraits executed around this time, including the present work: ‘The manner in which the vivid colours and blue/black contours begin to focus on specific features – eyes, nose and mouth – seems to have been inspired by Van Dongen. In contrast to the overt sensuality of Van Dongen’s female portraits, Jawlensky’s are dominated by an introspective seriousness’ (V. Rattemeyer, Alexej von Jawlensky (exhibition catalogue), Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1994, p. 77). Indeed, with her large, wide open eyes, the woman in the present work has an introvert, inquisitive character. Portrayed frontally with her head slightly tilted, she is looking straight ahead, capturing the viewer’s attention with her dark almond-shaped eyes that appear to be the focal point of the composition.\n\nLooking back at the pre-war years, the artist himself identified this phase in his career as crucial: ‘I painted my finest […] figure paintings in powerful, glowing colours and not at all naturalistic or objective. I used a great deal of red, blue, orange, cadmium yellow and chromium-oxide green. My forms were very strongly contoured in Prussian blue and came with tremendous power from an inner ecstasy […] It was a turning point in my art’ (quoted in ‘Memoir dictated to Lisa Kümmel, 1937’, in M. Jawlensky, L. Pieroni-Jawlensky & A. Jawlensky, op. cit., p. 31). This range of vivid colours is present in Roter Hut in the bright palette used to depict the woman’s face, executed in a combination of vibrant yellow, red and green tones, as well as in her bright red hat and clothes. In a composition dominated by broad, free brushstrokes the woman’s facial features, carefully contoured in black, stand out, emphasising the beauty of her lips, her elongated almond-shaped eyes and eyebrows.\nRoter Hut remained in Jawlensky’s studio until 1933 when it was taken to Basel and put into safe keeping by his friend Karl Im Obersteg. At some point the present work was handled by Galka Scheyer, as is evidenced by her inscriptions on the reverse of the work. Scheyer was an artist and art dealer who in March 1924 had founded the Blue Four. This group, whose members were Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Jawlensky was formed by Scheyer to promote German Modernism and find American buyers who were considerably more able to afford their work than their European counterparts. She set about promoting their work in a series of exhibitions that travelled throughout the United States and Mexico. Roter Hut was subsequently acquired by the Beverly Hills based entrepreneur Max Palevsky, who was an avid collector of German Expressionism and a committed philanthropist.\nSigned A. Jawlensky (lower left); signed A. Jawlensky, dated 1912 and inscribed N33 on the reverse
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on board

creator

Alexej Jawlensky

condition

The board is stable. There are a few small spots of retouching in the green background on the left, visible under ultra-violet light. Apart from some small losses to the black border at the extreme edges and a little wear to the upper right and lower left corners of the board with some small associated paint losses, this work is in good condition. Colours: Overall fairly accurate in the printed catalogue illustration, although slightly more vibrant in the original. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

53.5 by 49.5cm.

exhibition

New York, Serge Sabarsky Gallery, Expressionists, 1984, no. 42, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

literature

Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni-Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej von Jawlensky. Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London, 1991, vol. I, no. 511, illustrated p. 399

provenance

Studio of the artist (until at least 1933) Karl Im Obersteg, Basel (on loan from the artist and placed in storage by July 1933) Maison Schulthess, Basel (on commission by July 1933, possibly sold) Karen Jean Bunting, Kansas City Serge Sabarsky Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in October 1981) Max Palevsky, Beverly Hills (acquired from the above in September 1985) Thence by descent to the present owner

signedDate

Signed A. Jawlensky (lower left); signed A. Jawlensky, dated 1912 and inscribed N33 on the reverse

time_period

Painted in 1912.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private American Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1864 - 1941


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

You may also like

Red Flowers

Red Flowers

Price
2,800 USD

Nude in a Yellow Hat

Nude in a Yellow Hat

Price
2,400 USD

Red Hots

Red Hots

Price
6,250 USD

Red Orchid

Red Orchid

Price
2,000 USD

Woman in Red

Woman in Red

Price
1,100 USD

Red Window

Red Window

Price
19,000 USD

Portrait in Red

Portrait in Red

Price
2,200 USD


Advert
Advert

Sold items

Orange, Red, Yellow
Sold

Orange, Red, Yellow

Realized Price
86,882,500 USD

No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)
Sold

No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)

Realized Price
75,122,500 USD

Woman with Flowered Hat
Sold

Woman with Flowered Hat

Realized Price
56,123,750 USD

No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange)
Sold

No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange)

Realized Price
44,965,000 USD

Mystic Suprematism (Black Cross on Red Oval)
Sold
Orange, Red, Yellow
Withdrawn

Orange, Red, Yellow

Realized Price
37,001,000 USD

Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange)
Sold

Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange)

Realized Price
34,201,000 USD

Red and White Brushstrokes
Sold

Red and White Brushstrokes

Realized Price
28,247,500 USD

Nude with Red Shirt
Sold

Nude with Red Shirt

Realized Price
28,082,500 USD