Andreas Feininger, Portrait of Father Lyonel, 1951
Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) was born in New York City. He was the first child of the violinist Karl Feininger from Durlach in Baden (South West Germany) and the singer Elizabeth Cecilia Feininger, born Lutz, who also was of German descent. At age nine, Lyonel received violin lessons from his father but is more interested in drawing and building model ships. Lyonel is fascinated by steamboats and locomotives.
Lyonel Feininger, The Green Bridge II, 1916
In 1888, Feininger moved to Berlin where he had been accepted at the Königliche Akademie. (Imperial Academy of Art). He attended the classes of the painter Ernst Hancke and started to work on caricatures. In 1892, he moved to Paris for six months to visit the art school of the Italian sculptor Filippo Colarossi. After his return to Berlin, he continued to work as a caricaturist for various German and American journals, including Harper’s Round Table, Humoristische Blätter, Das Narrenschiff, BerlinerTageblatt and Ulk.
Lyonel Feininger, The Kin-der-Kids, The Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 29, 1906
In 1901, Feininger married Clara Fürst, daughter of the painter Gustav Fürst. She became the mother of his daughters Lore (1901) and Marianne (1902). He was represented with drawings at the exhibitions of the annual Berlin Secession in the years 1901 through 1903, and one year later the Great Berlin Art Exhibition (Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung) included 13 of his caricatures. In 1905, Feininger met Julia Berg, born Lilienfeld. Both fell in love and separated from their respective partners. The same year, Feininger was commissioned by the Chicago Sunday Tribune to do two series of comic strips: The Kin-der-Kids and Wee-Willie Winkie’s World. You can see a selection of these here.
Lyonel Feininger, The White Man, 1907
It became a recurrent motif in his work, featuring in numerous drawings and prints and in thirteen oil paintings ranging in date from 1913 to 1936. Although the church carried a symbolic meaning in Feininger's work, its architectural form also provided an ideal motif for his interest in geometric compositions.
Lyonel Feininger, Gelmeroda III, 1913
Also in 1913, Feininger participated at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon of Herwarth Walden's gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. After the outbreak of the First World War, especially after the USA declared war on Germany in 1917, Feininger (who was still an US citizen) experienced great difficulties in Germany.
and artistic director of the print workshop. He
San Francisco Examiner (1st November 1925): Galka Scheyer, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexej Jawlensky (left to right)