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Lyonel Feininger

Lyonel Feininger

*  1871 New York
† 1956 New York

Lyonel Feininger was born in New York in 1871. In 1887 he studies at the Hamburg School of Applied Arts, and as of 1888 at the Berlin Art Academy. In 1890/91 he is a student at the Jesuite-Collège in Liège. In 1891 he attends the studio Schlabitz, and continues his studies at the Berlin Academy. A year later Feininger travels to Paris for the first time where he visits the Académie Colarossi.
His early works are mostly caricatures. As of 1889 Lyonel Feininger makes drawings for the "Humoristischen Blätter" (Humorist Papers) and other newspapers in Berlin, as of 1894 he works for the New York publishing house Harper Brothers. As of 1895 he works for "Ulk" a weekly additional issue of the "Berliner Tageblatt", where is permanently employed as of 1897/98. In 1897/98 he also makes drawings for the "Lustige Blätter" (Funny Papers) and for the "Narrenschiff" (Ship of Fools). In 1906/07 he publishes his first picture stories in the "Comic-Supplement" of the "Chicago Tribune". In 1904 he shows drawings and caricatures at the Grand Art Exhibition in Berlin.
From 1906 to 1908 Lyonel Feininger lives in Paris where he meets Robert Delaunay, whose art impresses him very much. He makes his first paintings that he presents in the 20th exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1910 and in the "Salon des Artistes Indépendants", which is where he also encounters cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
In 1912 he comes in contact with artists of the "Brücke" (Bridge). In 1913 he makes paintings with motifs of Thuringian villages around Weimar, such as the painting of Gelmeroda, the church of this small town becomes a motif in many of his paintings.
Herwart Walden organizes Feininger's first one-man show with painitngs in his Berlin gallery "Der Sturm" (The Storm) in 1917. Walter Gropius calls Feininger to the Bauhaus as master of the graphic workshop. In 1919 he makes the title woodcut "Kathedrale des Sozialismus" (Cathedral of Socialism) for the Bauhaus manifesto. The firat Bauhaus portfolios with "Neuer europäischer Grafik" (New European Prints) are made between 1921 and 1924 under his supervision. He remains master of the workshop after the Bauhaus moves from Weimar to Dessau, where he also lives from 1926-1933, however, he resigns from teaching. Together with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Alexej von Jawlensky he forms the exhibition group "Blaue Vier" (Blue Four) in 1926. From 1929 to 1931 he works on the "Halle" pictures.
Lyonel Feininger's life's work comprises some 1.500 caricatures and illustrations, 539 paintings, 320 woodcuts, 65 etchings, 20 lithographs and several hundred watercolors and drawings.
In 1937 Feininger returns to his native country. The same year 378 of his works are shown in the exhibition "Degenerate Art". He is elected president of the "Federation of American Painters and Sculptors" in 1947. Lyonel Feininger dies in New York in 1956.