Alexej von Jawlensky's Abstrakter Kopf sells for $867,000

Alexej von Jawlensky's Abstrakter Kopf: Blau Rot (1933) sold for £602,500 ($866,998) in Christie's February 3 impressionist and modern art day sale in London.

The piece is a fine example of the Russian's later work, which moved from portraiture toward a purer form of abstraction.

Jawlensky Abstrakter Christies
Jawlensky was an influential expressionist painter

The auction house explains: "From 1919 especially, when he commenced his Variations landscapes, Jawlensky found that the act of creating a work of art took on a mystical power of its own�Ǫ

"Abstrakter Kopf: Blau - Rot dates from the very apogee of the Abstrakter Kopf series, in which he had honed down the language of shape and colour to a simple, pure and absorbing extreme�Ǫ

"We see the truth of Jawlensky's own statement that, 'My art is simply a meditation or prayer in colour'".

Jawlensky was a founding member of the Blue Rider group (alongside Paul Klee, Wassillily Kandinsky and Lyonel Feininger), which formed in 1911 to promote expressionism in Europe.

Picasso's Grand Vase aux Femmes Nues was another highlight, selling for £542,500 ($780,658) - an increase of 20.5% on its £450,000 ($647,550) estimate.

It's one of an edition of 25 he produced at the Madoura Pottery in Vallouris, France in 1950.

Picasso began to work with ceramics in the 1940s, finding it a relaxing alternative to painting.

Picasso's Tete de Femme painting sold for £18.8m ($27.1m) in Sotheby's modern art evening sale on February 3.

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