October 22, 2019 – February 16, 2020 at kunstbau

Soulmates. Alexej von Jawlensky und Marianne von Werefkin


Alexej von jawlensky and marianne von werefkin

Alexej von Jawlensky (1864—1941) and Marianne von Werefkin (1860—1938) were prominent members of the Expressionist avant-garde; with their art and their outsize personalities, they helped usher in modernism. Their works have never been shown together in one exhibition, and our presentation is the first to turn the spotlight on their relationship. Living and working together, they were soulmates for almost three decades.

After they left Saint Petersburg for Munich in 1896, Werefkin put her own creative ambitions on hold for ten years to dedicate herself to nurturing Jawlensky’s talent and study the art theory and contemporary art production of the time. Jawlensky started experimenting with still lifes and figure paintings, genres in which he found crucial inspiration in van Gogh.

In Murnau, where the two artists joined Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter to paint in 1908, they found their characteristic expressive and boldly colorful styles. Jawlensky’s landscapes from Murnau grew increasingly abstract; Werefkin, meanwhile, developed a specific mode of figure painting with which she probed a human existence at the mercy of inscrutable forces both supernatural and psychological.

In 1909, Jawlensky and Werefkin helped found the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, which met in their apartment on Munich’s Giselastraße. It was from this artists’ association that the Blue Rider seceded two years later. The vital ideas (Werefkin) and creative impulses (Jawlensky) with which they enriched the two groups’ activities alone would be enough to secure their place in art history.

When the First World War broke out, Werefkin and Jawlensky went into exile in Switzerland, where they lived and worked together in cramped quarters. They finally separated in 1921. Werefkin stayed in Ascona, while Jawlensky moved his family to Wiesbaden. Despite the end of the creative dialogue between them, they continued to make key contributions to the evolution of modernist art in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Presented in an unconventional exhibition architecture, the various stages of their creative evolutions, from the beginnings to their late oeuvres, are gathered in an opulent panorama comprising more than 190 works of art. Inspired by the theme of the soulmate relationship, the presentation traces the many ways in which the two artists complemented each other, their shared aspirations and achievements, but also their separate pursuits and sometimes abortive undertakings. It is rounded out by a stunning gallery of Jawlensky’s "Heads" and late "Faces," which respond to Werefkin’s theatrical scenes, depictions of workers, and visionary renderings of mental states.

In cooparation with Museum Wiesbaden, Hessisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Natur.
Curated by Annegret Hoberg (Lenbachhaus) and
Roman Zieglgänsberger (Museum Wiesbaden)

The exhibition was realized with support by the Kulturstiftung der Länder.




Mon, October 21, 2019, 7pm
at Lenbachhaus
Admission free


Tickets are available only at the ticket counter in the Lenbachhaus (not at the Kunstbau) and online. Owners of an annual pass receive their ticket at the special ticket counter to enter the exhibition right away. 

12 Euros regular / 6 Euros reduced

Tickets include admission to the Lenbachhaus as well as the special exhibition Soulmates. Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin at the Kunstbau.

Time slot for yout ticket

To ensure a pleasant stay in the exhibition for all visitors, your ticket specifies a 30-minute time slot for your admission to the special exhibition. Please arrive at the entrance to the Kunstbau at the specified time.


The exhibition catalogue is supported by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.





"Lebensmenschen—Alexej von Jawlensky und Marianne von Werefkin" (2019) a film by Ralph Goertz, IKS—Institut für Kunstdokumentation und Szenografie, Düsseldorf, ca. 50 min. The film will be screened in a continuous loop in the Lenbachhaus’s Georg-Knorr-Saal during the museum’s opening hours, starting at the top of each hour; last screening of the day at 5pm. An extended version on DVD is available in the museum shop.


By the entrance to the exhibition, we have set up a lounge area where you are invited to make yourselves comfortable. Next door, the art education studio has been transformed into a salon for distinctive faces. The Lenbachhaus’s art education team invites you to join us in the salon and deepen your engagement with the many portraits in the exhibition by making your own art. We provide canvas stands and mirror walls as well as drawing utensils for your exercises in (self)-portraiture. Feel free to bring your own props, masks, and costumes. Noregistration required.

Wed–Sun and Tue, November 12, December 10, 2019 and January 21, 2020
at 10.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 4.15pm
(except on Wed, January 1 and Mon, January 6, 2020)

Tue, October 22 and 29, November 5, 19 and 26, December 3 and 17, 2019
and January 7, 14 and 28, February 4 and 11, 2020
at 10.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm, 4.15pm and 6.15pm

Seeing an exhibition, everyone has their own associations, questions, and ideas—and so do the members of our team. In this series of guided tours of the show, they share their individual perspectives and introduce you to their personal highlights.

Fri, November 8, 2019, 4.45pm
... Annegret Hoberg, Curator of the exibition

Tue, November 12, 2019, 6.15pm
... Sarah Louisa Henn, Assistant Curator and Martina Oberprantacher, Art Education

Tue, December 10, 2019, 6.15pm
...Matthias Mühling, Director

Tue, January 21, 2020, 6.15pm
... Anna Straetmans, Assistant Curator and Iris Winkelmeyer, Head of Conservation

Fri, February 14, 2020, 4.45pm
... Annegret Hoberg, Curator of the exibition

All art education program is currently only offered in German.
For more information please visit our German homepage.

Duration: 1 hour
Costs: 3 Euro / p.p. plus admission

Who are you and who am I?
My family in shapes and colours

Sat, October 26–Sat, February 15, 2020
Every Saturday 3.15–5.45pm

All art education program is currently only offered in German.
For more information please visit our German homepage.

For children ages 6 and the whole family
Starts at the Kunstbau, afterwards in the studio at Lenbachhaus
Duration: 2,5 hour
Costs: 3 Euro / p.p. plus admission
Further information on the exhibition here.

Next Station

Museum Wiesbaden, Hessisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Natur: 13.3.–12.7.2020

Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna—Fondazione Marianne Werefkin, Ascona, CH, 2.8.–8.11.2020

What's on
Öffentliche Führung
Der Blaue Reiter im Dialog mit...
Public guided tour
The Blue Rider in dialogue with...
Die Lange Nacht der Münchner Museen
Night Opening
The Long Night of Munich Museums

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