"Feininger refers to his charcoal drawings as 'formulating of the subject for solutions of space;' the watercolors are solutions of 'volumes of light.' But such 'solutions' are not simply answers to be used in later works. The watercolors have an independent existence and, in their own right, they are among his most successful works."

Thomas B. Hess, Feininger Paints a Picture, 1949

 

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Newspaper Readers), 1908

Watercolor and ink on paper

10 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (26 x 21 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Inscribed lower left: L.F. Paris

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On July 17, 1871, 150 years ago today, Lyonel Feininger was born in New York City. In celebration of this anniversary of his birth, it is my pleasure to present Lyonel Feininger: "Seeing Is Everything!" A Small Retrospective of Drawings and Watercolors, an exhibition showcasing a selection of rare drawings and watercolors by this seminal artist. 

The exhibition includes 45 works that Feininger made between 1908 and 1955. Together, they provide a fresh, comprehensive look at the range of his oeuvre by showing the development of his style and motifs, from his formative years in Paris to his success as a master at the Bauhaus to his return to his native New York in 1937.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Die Angler, 1915

(The Anglers)

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 9/16 x 12 3/8 in. (24.3 x 31.4 cm) 

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: November 1915 

Titled lower center: Die Angler 

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F. 

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While Feininger's paintings were often intellectual and rigorous, his drawings and watercolors were freer, more expressive of his curiosity and drive to experiment. Through his drawings and watercolors, he explored different approaches. He made playful figurative works like Paris (Newspaper Readers), 1908, Die Angler (The Anglers), 1915, and Men Working, 1910; geometric compositions like (Church in the Woods), 1952, and (Dunes), 1954; and fantastical late figure drawings, which he called “Ghosties.”

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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

(Taubach), 1918

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 1/8 x 12 in. (24 x 30.5 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Dated lower right: 1918

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By providing an overview of five decades of his work in charcoal, ink, and watercolor, our small retrospective offers insight into Feininger’s growth as an artist. As he put it in a letter to his friend and fellow artist Alfred Kubin (1877–1959):

"Only our perceptions of objects in nature are mystical. Therefore we must have, and give, the form to express this mystical quality. The mere object is nothing; seeing is everything! And here I want to say that art can only progress with increasing understanding, with the inner growth of the artist."

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Dorf, 1923

(Village)

Watercolor and ink on paper

11 x 15 in. (27.9 x 38.1 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Titled lower center: Dorf

Dated lower right: 24 Sept 1923

Inscribed bottom left: X X

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Text/Image Swiper

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Three-Masted Barque), 1945
Watercolor and ink on paper 

7 3/4 x 10 15/16 in. (19.7 x 27.8 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 5. 10. 45

Inscribed bottom left: X 23. XI. 45 L.F.

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Text/Image Swiper

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Church in the Woods), 1952

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 1/2 x 12 in. (24.1 x 30.5 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 21. VI. ‘52

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F.

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Images

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Men Working (Strassenpflasterer), 1910

(Pavement Workers)

Ink and charcoal on paper

12 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. (31.7 x 24.3 cm)

Signed lower right: Feininger

Dated bottom right: SUNDAY APR. 3. 10

Titled lower center: “Men Working” Strassenpflasterer

Inscribed bottom left: X X L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Die Angler, 1915

(The Anglers)

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 9/16 x 12 3/8 in. (24.3 x 31.4 cm) 

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: November 1915 

Titled lower center: Die Angler 

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F. 

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Paris (Newspaper Readers), 1908

Watercolor and ink on paper

10 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (26 x 21 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Inscribed lower left: X PARIS L.F. 

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Am Bahndamm, 1916

(At the Embankment)

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (24.8 x 31.8 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: Dienstag d. 26 Sept. 1916 

Titled lower center: AM BAHNDAMM

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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

Obergrunstedt I, 1920

Watercolor and ink on paper

10 1/8 x 11 1/16 in. (26.5 x 28.5 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1920

Titled lower center: OberGrunstedt I

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Gaberndorf, 1918
Watercolor and ink on paper 

9 3/8 x 12 1/8 in. (23.7 x 30.9 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: Mittwoch d. 9. Jan. 1918

Titled lower center: Gaberndorf

Inscribed lower left: X L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Dorf, 1923

(Village)

Watercolor and ink on paper

11 x 15 in. (27.9 x 38.1 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Titled lower center: Dorf

Dated lower right: 24 Sept 1923

Inscribed bottom left: X X

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Gaberndorf, 1927
Ink, charcoal, and ink wash on paper

11 1⁄4 x 16 1/8 in. (28.6 x 41 cm) 

Signed lower left: Feininger
Dated lower right: 13. 8. 27
Titled lower center: GABERNDORF 

Inscribed bottom left: ♀ [inverted] X L.F. 

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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

(Taubach), 1918

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 1/8 x 12 in. (24 x 30.5 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 1918

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Quimper, 1931

Watercolor and ink on paper

18 5/8 x 11 1/4 in. (47.3 x 28.6 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger 

Titled lower center: Quimper

Dated lower right: 3 9 31

Inscribed bottom left: X L. F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Mural Design for the 1st Class Dining Room of the SS Constitution), 1949

Watercolor and ink on paper 

9 7/16 x 15 1/16 in. (24 x 38.3 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger, 1949  

Inscribed lower left: to Lux

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

The Watch Tower, 1947

Watercolor and ink on paper 

7 7/8 x 11 1/8 in. (20 x 28.3 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Titled and dated verso on mount: “The Watch Tower” 1947

Inscribed and dated verso: “MERRY XMAS!” To Jeanne, from Papileo with much love. 1947

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Düne am Abend, 1928

(Dune at Evening)

Ink, charcoal, and ink wash on paper

11 1/4 x 16 in. (28.6 x 40.6 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 5 8 28

Titled lower center: Düne am Abend

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F.

Inscribed bottom right: 20 X 36

Inscribed verso: Original Study for painting “Dune at Twilight”, 1944, Collection W. W. Norton

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Greifenberg in Pommern, 1927

(Greifenberg in Pommerania)
Ink, charcoal, and ink wash on paper

11 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. (28.6 x 41 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 25 8 27

Titled lower center: Greifenberg i. P.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Dunes), 1954

Ink and charcoal on paper

12 1/4 x 19 in. (31.1 x 48.3 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Viermast Bark, 1934

(Four-Masted Bark)
Ink on paper

10 x 13 1/4 in. (25.4 x 33.7 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger, 1934
Titled lower right: viermast Bark

Inscribe bottom left: meinem lieben Andreas, von Papileo 

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Sailing Ship), c. 1934

Watercolor and ink on paper

3 5/8 x 7 1/8 in. (9.2 x 18.1 cm)

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Sonnenuntergang am Strande, 1934

(Sunset on the Beach)

13 1/4 x 18 5/8 in. (33.6 x 47.3 cm)

Signed and titled lower left: Feininger: Sonnenuntergang am Strande

Dated lower right: 29. 6. 34.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Three-Masted Barque), 1945
Watercolor and ink on paper 

7 3/4 x 10 15/16 in. (19.7 x 27.8 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 5. 10. 45

Inscribed bottom left: X 23. XI. 45 L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Two Sailing Ships), 1939

Watercolor and ink on paper

7 5/8 x 10 5/16 in. (19.4 x 26.2 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 20. VI. 39

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Barque Against Blue Sky), 1938

Watercolor and ink on paper

6 7/8 x 9 in. (17.4 x 23 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 1938

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Kutter “Fremad,” 1933

(Cutter “Fremad”)
Watercolor and ink on paper

9 3/8 x 11 7/8 in. (23.8 x 30.2 cm)

Signed and titled lower left: Feininger: Kutter “Fremad”

Dated lower right: 26 6 33

Inscribed bottom left: X

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Sky Script, 1946

Watercolor and ink on paper

12 1/2 x 18 7/8 in. (31.8 x 47.9 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 20. VIII. 46.

Titled lower center: Sky Script

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Churning Clouds above the Sea), 1945

Watercolor and ink on paper

12 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (31.1 x 47.6 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 9. I. 45

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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

(Sun over Sea), 1953

Ink wash and ink on paper

12 1/2 x 19 in. (31.8 x 48.3 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 8. VII. ’53.

Inscribed lower left: X 17. 7. 53. L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Three Children on the Shore), 1949

Watercolor and ink on paper

12 5/8 x 18 3/4 in. (32.1 x 47.6 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1949

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(St. Quenole), 1947

Ink wash and ink on paper

12 1/2 x 18 15/16 in. (31.7 x 48.1 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 28. VIII. 47.

Inscribed bottom left: X

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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

Vollersroda, 1947

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 3/8 x 12 1/8 in. (22.2 x 29.2 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1947

Titled lower right: “Vollersroda”

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Smoke-Script), 1946

Watercolor and ink on paper

12 3/4 x 18 7/8 in. (32.4 x 47.9 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 14. VII. 46.

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Composition: Vollersroda), 1955

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 1/4 x 12 1/2 in. (23.5 x 31.8 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 15. VII. ‘55

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Village), 1952

Watercolor and ink on paper

7 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (19 x 34.9 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger June, 1952

Inscribed verso: In old-time Remembrance, to Alli, from his old “Papileo” L.F., Aug. 26th 1952

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Church in the Woods), 1952

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 1/2 x 12 in. (24.1 x 30.5 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 21. VI. ‘52

Inscribed bottom left: X L.F.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Village), 1952

Watercolor, charcoal, and ink on paper

10 15/16 x 19 1/6 in. (27.8 x 48.7 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1952

Inscribed verso: to my dear Allo, from his old friend L.F., Cambridge, Mass, Aug 26. 1952

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Manhattan), 1955

Watercolor, charcoal, and ink on paper

13 x 9 1/2 in. (32.9 x 24.1 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1955

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Viaduct, 1955

Watercolor and ink on paper

9 3/8 x 12 1/2 in. (23.8 x 31.8 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 7. VII. ‘55

Titled lower right: Viaduct

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Manhattan), 1952

Watercolor, charcoal, and ink on paper

19 1/8 x 13 7/8 in. (48.5 x 35.4 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

Dated lower right: 20. V. 52.

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Sympathetic Gallery Visitors, c. 1952

Watercolor, ink, and gold paint on paper

3 x 5 1/2 in. (7.7 x 14 cm)

Titled upper center: Sympathetic Gallery visitors

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1954

Watercolor and ink on paper

7 5/16 x 6 1/4 in. (20.2 x 15.9 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

What’s the big Idea?, 1954

Watercolor and ink on paper 

3 9/16 x 6 9/16 in. (9 x 16.7 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

Titled lower center: WHAT’S THE Big Idea?

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Five Figures), c. 1950

3 1/4 x 6 in. (8.3 x 15.2 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Three Figures and a Cat), 1953 

Watercolor and ink on paper

4 3/4 x 6 in. (12.1 x 15.2 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger `53

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Dogs and One Owl), c. 1953

Watercolor and ink on paper

3 x 6 1/8 in. (7.6 x 15.6 cm)

Signed upper left: Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1955

Watercolor and crayon on paper

3 11/16 x 3 5/16 in. (9.5 x 8.3 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 16. VII. `55

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), c. 1950

Watercolor and ink on paper

5 x 6 in. (12.7 x 15.2 cm)

Signed lower right: Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Merry Christmas (Three Figures), c. 1950

Watercolor, ink, and gold paint on paper

3 x 4 1/2 in. (7.6 x 11.4 cm)

Inscribed upper center with typewriter: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Chronology

Portrait Lyonel Feininger, Dessau, 1928

Chronology

1871
Lyonel Feininger is born on July 17 in New York to Karl and Elizabeth Feininger; he is the first of three children.

1887
Leaves for Germany and starts studying at the General Vocational and Crafts School in Hamburg.

1888
Moves to Berlin and begins studying at the Royal Academy of Arts.

1892
Leaves the Academy and moves to Paris.

1893
Moves back to Berlin and starts working as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator.

1901
Marries Clara Fürst, birth of daughter Eleonora. 

1902
Birth of daughter Marianne.

1905
Meets Julia Berg (née Lilienfeld) and separates from his wife.

1906
Moves with Julia to Paris and their son Andreas is born. Works on two comic strips for The Chicago Sunday Tribune.

1907
Executes his first oil painting.

1908
Marries Julia in London, returns to Berlin.

1909
Birth of son Laurence.

1910
Birth of son Theodore Lux (T. Lux).

1911
Six paintings are shown at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris.

1913
Five paintings are shown at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon, organized by the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin.

1917
First solo exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm.

1919
Is appointed the first master of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar.

1921
Composes his first fugue.

1926
Moves with the Bauhaus to Dessau as master without teaching duties.

1929
Works on a series of paintings for the City of Halle (Saale).

1931
Completes his Halle series. Retrospectives in Dresden, Essen, and at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

1934
Moves to Berlin-Siemensstadt.

1935
The National Socialists declare his art “degenerate.”

1936
Teaches a summer course at Mills College in Oakland, California.  

1937
Leaves Germany, teaches another summer course at Mills College and then settles in New York City.

1939
Works on murals for the 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair.

1942
One of his paintings is awarded a purchase prize by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

1944
Retrospective with Marsden Hartley at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1945
Teaches a summer course at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina.

1956
Dies on January 13 in his New York apartment.

Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings

Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings

Achim Moeller founded The Lyonel Feininger Project in 1987 to prepare the catalogues raisonné, provide certificates of authenticity as well as exhibition consultation, and to conduct and support research related to the artist. The Lyonel Feininger Project, with premises in New York and Berlin, organizes scholarly exhibitions and maintains a 20,000-volume reference library.

Lyonel Feininger: The Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Achim Moeller can be accessed at feiningerproject.org.

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