Lyonel Feininger American, 1871-1956


Born in New-York from musician parents, Lyonel Feininger arrives in Germany at the age of 16 to pursue the study of violin. Discovering himself a vocation for painting, he abandons music and studies arts in Hamburg, Berlin and Paris. He shows his talents for graphical arts by publishing caricatures and comics in Newspapers.


Feininger travels to Berlin and London and comes back to Paris in 1911 where he discovers Cubism and meets French painters Robert Delauney. The following year he meets the Austrian artist and writer Alfred Kubin and the expressionists of Die Brücke before participating in 1913, to the exhibitions of the Blaue Reiter in Munich and Berlin.


The artist helds a personal exhibition at the Galerie der Sturm in 1917, and joins the Novembergruppe in 1918 - a group of artists politically engaged to the left. He is invited by Walter Gropius to the first Bauhaus of Weimar, for which he does the engraving of the cover for the inaugural manifest "Cathédrale de l'avenir".


In 1924 Feininger founds the ephemeral group Die Blauen Vier with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Alexej von Jawlensky. He follows the move of the Bauhaus to Dessau and teaches painting and engraving until the dissolution of the movement at the arrival of the Nazis to power in 1933. 


The political events decide of his return to the US in 1936 where he is greatly celebrated and recognized until his death in 1956.


Feininger's latests and more mature works are characterized by angular lines, an increased stylization, a geometry that is prolonged beyond the shapes by long straight lines, and an often-enigmatic luminosity. suggested by fading shades, that is able to create a mysterious atmosphere while intensifying the depth of the content. Among Feininger's favorite themes, we can notice the seascapes with futuristic liners, architecture, urban landscapes as well as countryside ones and human figures.