With its Alexej von Jawlensky Prize, the city of Wiesbaden honors the life's work of the great Russian painter, who lived in Wiesbaden from 1921 until the end of his life in 1941. The prize is associated with a cash award, an exhibition in Museum Wiesbaden, and the purchase of a work for the museum’s collection. The prize is funded by the city of Wiesbaden, the Spielbank Wiesbaden and the Nassauische Sparkasse. The support of these three institutions signals their recognition of and commitment to the creative energy Alexej von Jawlensky contributed to the cultural life of our city and to an active dialogue with the most important currents of contemporary art.

The Alexei von Jawlensky Prize is awarded every five years. First to be awarded the prize was American painter Agnes Martin in 1991, followed in 1996 by American painter Robert Mangold, selected by an international jury as the second recipient. The awards ceremony and exhibition at Museum Wiesbaden, however, were not held until 1998, due to ongoing renovations. In 2003, the prize went to the American painter Brice Marden, who accepted the award in 2004 at the opening of the exhibition Jawlensky — My Dearest Galka! The exhibition for Brice Marden took place in 2008. In 2007, the prize was awarded a fourth time to the artist Rebecca Horn, whose work has been shown at multiple documenta exhibitions. The award ceremony on 17 March 2007 marked the opening of not only the Horn exhibition associated with the prize but of her mirror installation Jupiter in the Octagon. In 2012, the American artist Ellsworth Kelly was awarded the Jawlensky Prize for his life’s work. The award for exceptional contribution to the fine arts was presented at the opening of the artist’s exhibition associated with the prize. In 2014, the prize went to the American sculptor Richard Serra for his outstanding work. The award ceremony took place at the opening of the exhibition Richard Serra — Props, Films, Early Works.

Alexej von Jawlensky, Self-portrait, 1912. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
Alexej von Jawlensky, Self-portrait, 1912. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

Works of the Alexej von Jawlensky Prize winners


The Museum Association Otto Ritschl began bestowing the prize in 2001 in Ritschl’s honor to keep the artist’s name alive. In recognition of Ritschl’s work, the prize is awarded to artists whose work focuses on color and the investigation of color and spatiality. The prize is associated with an exhibition at Museum Wiesbaden, including a catalog, and a cash award. The artist Otto Ritschl (1885—1976) lived in Wiesbaden from 1918 to 1976. After his early figural and, later, more Surrealist works, Ritschl began, in the 1950s, to move toward geometric and, finally, more expressive abstraction. His late work revolved entirely around immaterial space shaped entirely by color.
Otto Ritschl, Self-portrait, 1920. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
Otto Ritschl, Self-portrait, 1920. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021. Photo: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

The association (external link) awarded the prize for the first time in 2001 to artist Gotthard Graubner for his abstract color paintings, like the Pillow Paintings (canvas stretched on wooden frame over cotton). In 2003, the prize was awarded to Ulrich Erben for his work with color constellations — color combinations and chromatic chords that define space, capture light, and slip into motion. Disrupted by renovations to Museum Wiesbaden, the next Ritschl Prize was awarded in 2009 to Kazuo Katase, the similarities of whose work to Ritschl’s extend far beyond the investigation of color and space. Both artists were interested in Far Eastern philosophy, the comparison of Eastern and Western thought, as well as with the philosophy of Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Internationally renowned artist Katharina Grosse, who lives in Berlin and teaches in Düsseldorf, was recipient of the prize in 2015 for her innovative use of color-space that has long exploded the boundaries of the picture frame. Grosse’s works focus on the use color in connection with surfaces, creating “walk-in” color-spaces and investigating the possibilities and limitations of the art of painting.

Works of the winners of the Otto Ritschl Award


  • Sa
    27 Jul
    MUSEUMSWERKSTATT FÜR KINDER Von Riffbewohnern, Hammerhaien und Pottwalen — Wir gestalten eine Unterwasserwelt
  • Sa
    27 Jul
    ÖFFENTLICHE FÜHRUNG Günter Fruhtrunk — Retrospektive
  • So
    28 Jul
    ÖFFENTLICHE FÜHRUNG Der Hase ist des Jägers Tod — Kultur und Natur des südlichen Afrikas

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