He studied in Munich from 1896 and there met Kandinsky, although he did not join in the Blaue Reiter Group of which Kandinsky was a member, developing instead a style which combined the bright colours of the Fauves with the more sombre traditions of Russian art, including icon painting.
Later, with Kandinsky, Klee and Feininger, he formed a group known as the Blue Four.
He settled in Wiesbaden in 1921 and his later works became more abstract, more Byzantine and more expressive. He said to himself that "art is a nostalgia for god."
Jawlensky died in 1941.