Lyonel Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger
Lyonel Feininger by Emil Orlik, 1906
Born(1871-07-17)July 17, 1871
DiedJanuary 13, 1956(1956-01-13) (aged 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Known forPainting, Cartoonist, Photography
MovementExpressionism, Cubism, Blaue Reiter, Die Brücke, Berlin Secession, Novembergruppe
ElectedAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters (1955)

Lyonel Charles Feininger (July 17, 1871 – January 13, 1956) was a German-American painter. He also drew cartoons.

Personal life[change | change source]

Lyonel Feininger's father was the German violinist Karl Feininger. His mother was the American singer Elizabeth Feininger.[1] Feininger grew up in New York City.[2]

Feininger married Clara Fürst, the daughter of the painter Gustav Fürst. They had two daughters. He also had several children with Julia Berg whom he later married. His sons, Andreas Feininger and T. Lux Feininger, both became artists. Andreas was a photographer and T. Lux became a photographer and a painter.

Artwork[change | change source]

He moved to Berlin in 1887 to study at the Königliche Akademie Berlin under Ernst Hancke. Then he studied at art schools in Berlin with Karl Schlabitz, and in Paris with sculptor Filippo Colarossi. He started as a caricaturist in 1894 for several German, French and American magazines. These included Harper's Round Table, Harper's Young People, Humoristische Blätter, Lustige Blätter, Das Narrenschiff, Berliner Tageblatt and Ulk.

In February of 1906, James Keeley, editor of The Chicago Tribune traveled to Germany. He was looking for artists to draw cartoons for his newspaper. He recruited Feininger to draw two comic strips ("The Kin-der-Kids" and "Wee Willie Winkie's World") for the Chicago Tribune.[1][3] People liked the comic strips for their humor and experimental drawing style. Fenininger also worked as a commercial caricaturist for 20 years for various newspapers and magazines in both the USA and Germany. Later, Art Spiegelman wrote in The New York Times Book Review, that Feininger's comics have “achieved a breathtaking formal grace unsurpassed in the history of the medium.”[3]

Feininger's art was chosen to be a part of the annual Berlin Secession art show in the years 1901 through 1903.

Feininger started to work as a fine artist at the age of 36. He was a member of the Berliner Sezession in 1909. He was associated with expressionist group Die Brücke, the Novembergruppe, Gruppe 1919, the Blaue Reiter circle and The Blue Four. When Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Germany in 1919, Feininger became the master artist in charge of the printmaking workshop.[1] He designed the cover for the Bauhaus 1919 manifesto: an expressionist woodcut 'cathedral'. He taught at the Bauhaus for several years. Among the students who attended his workshops were Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack (German/Australian, 1893–1965), Hans Friedrich Grohs (German 1892 - 1981) and Margarete Koehler-Bittkow (German/American, 1898–1964)

In 1933, the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. Feininger's wife was partly Jewish, and they decided to leave Germany. The Nazi Party declared his work to be "degenerate."[1] They moved to America after his work was exhibited in the 'degenerate art' (Entartete Kunst) in 1936, but before the 1937 exhibition in Munich. After moving to the United States, Feininger taught at Black Mountain College.

Other work[change | change source]

In addition to drawing, Feininger created art with painted toy figures being photographed in front of drawn backgrounds.[4]

Feininger also worked sometimes as a pianist and composer. Music historians still keep several of Feininger's piano compositions and fugues for organ.

Selected works[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References and notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Alfred Vance Churchill papers regarding Lyonel Feininger, 1888-1944". Archive of American Art Finding Aids. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  2. [1]"Lyonel Feininger (Léonell Charles Feininger) is born in New York City on July 17th. He was the first child of the violinist Karl Feininger from Durlach in Baden (South West Germany) and the American singer Elizabeth Cecilia Feininger, born Lutz, who was also of German descent. "
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Lyonel Feininger". Cartoons. Ohio State University. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  4. Feininger, T. Lux (1965). Lyonel Feininger: City at the Edge of the World. Frederick A. Praeger. p. 36-76. LCCN 65-25280.

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]