Lyonel Feininger

1919–1932 Bauhaus master

Portrait of Lyonel Feininger, Photo: Andreas Feininger, 1928.
Portrait of Lyonel Feininger, Photo: Andreas Feininger, 1928. © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / Zeppelin-Museum / Getty Images / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020.
  • Born 17.7.1871 New York, USA
  • Died 13.1.1956 New York, USA

  • Birth Name Lyonel Charles Adrian Feininger
  • Nickname Papileo

  • Professions Graphic artist, Cartoonist, Painter

Lyonel Feininger studied drawing at the vocational school in Hamburg in 1887. One year later, he was accepted at the Königliche Akademie der Künste (royal academy of art) in Berlin where he attended painting classes taught by Ernst Hancke. In 1891, he continued his studies at a private art school. Between 1892 and 1909, he travelled extensively to Paris, Rome, London and elsewhere. At the same he published caricatures in various magazines such as ‘Narrenschiff’ and ‘Lustige Blätter’. In addition, he was represented at exhibitions such as the Große Berliner Kunstausstellung (great Berlin art exhibition) of 1904, and in 1909, he became a member of the Berlin Secession. In 1907, Feininger turned to painting and exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in Paris in 1911. He was invited by Franz Marc to exhibit some of his works for the first time at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon (first German autumn salon) at Herwarth Walden’s gallery Der Sturm in 1913. In 1919, he became a member of the work council for art and pursued Walter Gropius to Weimar.
Walter Gropius appointed him as one of the first masters at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar in May 1919, where he served as master of form in the printing workshop from 1919 to 1925. His woodcut Cathedral was used to illustrate the cover of the Bauhaus Manifesto of 1919. In 1921, a folder with 12 woodcuts by Feininger was the first publication to be printed at the Bauhaus Weimar. In 1924, he joined with Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to form the exhibition collective ‘Die Blauen Vier’ (The Blue Four).
During his Bauhaus period, works by Lyonel Feininger, father of Bauhaus students Andreas and Theodore Lux Feininger, were shown in many exhibitions, for instance at the Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince palace) in Berlin in 1928 and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1929. In 1937, Feininger emigrated to the USA and taught at Mills College in Oakland, California, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Many exhibitions of his work took place in the USA, such as the retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York in 1944.

  1. Literature:
  2. · Wolfgang Büche (1995): Lyonel Feininger. Gelmeroda. Ein Maler und sein Motiv, Stuttgart.
    · Wolfgang Büche (2010): Lyonel Feininger. Die Halle-Bilder, Stiftung Moritzburg, Kunstmuseum des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt, Hall, München.
    · Andrea Fromm (2009): Feininger und das Bauhaus. Weimar − Dessau − New York, Kunsthaus Avantgarde (Apolda), Hamburg.
    · Uta Gerlach-Laxner, Ellen Schwinzer (2009): Lyonel Feininger − Paul Klee: Malerfreunde am Bauhaus, Ausstellungskatalog, Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm, Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg, Bramsche.
    · Roland März (1999): Lyonel Feininger. Von Gelmeroda nach Manhattan, Berlin.
    · Laura Muir, Nathan J Timpano (2011): Lyonel Feininger: Photographs 1928–1939, Ostfildern.
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