Between 1903 and 1907 Jawlensky paid several long visits to France, staying in Paris, Normandy, Brittany and Provence, where he fell deeply under the spell of the art of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse. From 1908 he spent a period with Kandinsky and Münter in Murnau. The experience had a decisive influence on the further development of his Expressionist style, not only in the landscape paintings he produced there, but more especially in his portraits. In the latter, he used vivid colours to concentrate increasingly on the representation of the facial features, making the subject’s eyes the dominant feature. This head of a woman is a striking example. Henceforward, right through until his death in 1941, Jawlensky focused principally on representations of the human face which eventually – in the Meditations, with their severely abstract pattern of forms – become spiritualised images, almost icon-like in their devotional intensity.
Source: D. Hardeman, F.W. Kaiser, B. Tempel (eds.), Kandinsky en Der Blaue Reiter, Den Haag 2010