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Purple Lips

Alexey von Jawlensky, Russian (active Germany), 1864 - 1941

Possibly made in Munich, Germany, Europe


Oil on cardboard

21 1/8 x 19 1/2 inches (53.7 x 49.5 cm) Framed: 26 7/8 × 25 13/16 × 1 1/2 inches (68.3 × 65.6 × 3.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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Jawlensky attributed mystical power to color and used it to create compelling, expressionistic portraits. The sitter for this painting was a model who appears again and again in the artist’s work of the early 1910s, although her identity has never been pinpointed. Here, the artist exaggerates the effects of cosmetics: the brilliantly purple lips, shadowed eyes, and white and red cheeks give the woman an exotic aura.