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Sale: 400 / Modern Art, Dec. 08. 2012  
Lot: 92  
Feininger, Lyonel 
Ober-Weimar VII, 1920. 
Result (incl. 22% surcharge): 107,360 EUR / 140,641 $
Estimate: 50,000 EUR / 65,500 $  
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Lyonel Feininger


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Lyonel Feininger - Ober-Weimar VII  
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Lot: 92
Lyonel Feininger
1871 New York - 1956 New York
Ober-Weimar VII. 1920.
Watercolor and India ink drawing.
Signed lower left, dated "19. Apr. 1920" lower right as well as titled in center. On brownish laid paper. 24 x 30,9 cm (9,4 x 12,1 in).

Accompanied by a photo expertise by Achim Moeller, New York, dated 18 April, 2012. The work is registered in the archive of the Lyonel Feininger Project LLC, New York, under the number 1142-04-18-12.

PROVENANCE: European private ownership (since the 1960s).

Lyonel Feininger was born on 17 July 1871 as the son of a concert violinist of German origin and a singer and pianist. He followed his parents to Europe in 1887, where he first attended the drawing and painting class at the Gewerbeschule in Hamburg and later studied at the Königliche Kunst-Akademie in Berlin from 1888 to 1892. Then followed one year in Paris where he attended the private art school of the Italian sculptor Filippo Colarossi. Feininger returned to Berlin in 1893, where he earned a living mainly as an illustrator until 1906. He spent the following two years in Paris where he met the 'Café du Dôme'-circle of German Matisse pupils as well as Robert Delaunay. He became a member of the 'Berliner Sezession' in 1909, exhibiting at their show for the first time one year later. The artist travelled to Paris in 1911 for his exhibition at the 'Salon des Independants'. Here he had his first encounter with Cubism. His acquaintance with Alfred Kubin and the 'Brücke' painters Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Erich Heckel opened up new perspectives for his own work in 1912. He began making his first architectural compositions with the typical Cubist fragmentation. In 1913 Franz Mark invited Feininger to participate in the 'Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon' at Herwarth Walden's 'Sturm'-Galerie in Berlin, which also organised Feininger's first one-man exhibition in 1917. Walter Gropius called him to the 'Bauhaus' in Weimar in 1919, where he taught graphic art and painting until 1926.

For the German-American artist Lyonel Feininger the rediscovery of the old continent was also an artistic gain of a special kind. For his way of seeing things in their strange scurrility, taking them to caricature-like levels without ridiculing them, the old Europe with its traditions and history supplied him with a lot of material. Next to the Baltic Sea, the dreamy regions in Thuringia becomes declared aim of his explorations. Feiniger discovered and interpreted the winding village landscapes in Thuringia with their old churches in his very own and surprising manner. This is where the broken formal structure of traditions meet the scurrile figures that inhibit this world. Feininger entirely dedicated himself to this world, in order to develop it in a way that speaks for his remarkable artistic intuition.

Together with Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky Feininger founded the artist group 'Die Blauen Vier' in 1924. A first comprehensive retrospective exhibition took place in 1931 at the Kronprinzen-Palais in Berlin, where the artist moved in 1933. Feininger emigrated to New York in 1937. In the same year the National Socialists confiscated more than 400 of his works. Feininger's artistic breakthrough in the US only came in 1944 with a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1945 Feininger ran a summer course at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he met Gropius and Einstein. His teaching, his writing and his later watercolors were an important source for the development of Abstract Expressionism in America. [KD].

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