Lyonel Feininger

Lyonel Feininger was born in 1871 in New York to German musician parents. He lived and worked in Germany from 1887 until 1937 when he fled the Nazis, who had condemned his art as `Entartete Kunst' ('degenerate art'). He returned to New York to work until his death in 1956.

I have been enthralled by his paintings ever since I saw the sail boat painting Stiller Tag am Meer III in a 10th grade reading book. I tried to copy it in watercolor, spent many hours on it, but never quite finished it.

Feininger underwent an astonishing evolution as an artist, starting as a caricaturist. His first painting in oil was not created until 1907, when he was already 36 years old.
My favorites are from his cubist period, i.e., roughly from 1913-1937.
For this photo album I scanned 7 favorite paintings from a book on his life and work by Ulrich Luckhart: Lyonel Feininger, Prestel Verlag, Munich, 1998, a comprehensive and excellent book on Feininger.


Stiller Tag am Meer III, 1929 (Private Collection)

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite paintings.

It kills me that I will never see it in real life.

Feininger gave this away to a friend, and never received a penny for it.

Gelmeroda III, 1913,Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Feininger returned repeatedly to certain motives. Here is a church in a small village near Weimar in Eastern Germany. He painted 13 versions of this. Here is one of his earliest.

Gelmeroda IX, 1926 (Essen, Museum Folkwang)

Gelmeroda XIII, 1936. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Here is the last version.

Barfuesserkirche I, 1924 (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart)

Torturm II, 1925, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle)

Landungssteg, 1920 (New York, Acquavella Galleries)




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