Dot, dot, comma, dash... Although the painting is reduced to a minimum as regards form, Jawlensky's 'Abstract Head: Symphony in Pink' and other such works are simple only at first sight. The artist, a member of the Blauer Reiter group, associated works of this kind with his search for a universally valid archaic image of the human face. Jawlensky began his series of 'Abstract Heads' in 1918. They comprise 251 works which alternate between abstraction and figuration. The deeply pious Russian saw himself as continuing in the tradition of Russian and Byzantine art and intentionally referenced icon paintings in his work.
When Robert von Hirsch (1883–1977) began to collect art at the age of twenty-four, his interest was in Impressionism and modern art. In the 1920s he began to include works by the Old Masters, such as Dürer, Raphael, Rubens and Rembrandt. His house in Bockenheimer Landstrasse was a popular meeting point for art lovers in Frankfurt, until von Hirsch emigrated to Basel in 1933. He continued to feel a close link with the Städel from his exile in Switzerland.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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