Lyonel Feininger (amerikanisch/deutsch, 1956)

Lyonel Feininger (German/American, 1871–1956) was a leading Expressionist painter who lived and worked in Germany and the United States. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Born in New York to parents who were professional musicians, he originally went to Germany to study music, but then began taking art classes at the Allgemeinen Gewerbeschule in Hamburg in 1887. The artist went on to study painting at the Königliche Akademie in Berlin under Ernst Hancke (German, 1834–1914) and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris.

The work of the Cubist painter Robert Delaunay (French, 1885–1941) exerted a particularly powerful influence on Feininger. Although he is known more for his Abstract Expressionist paintings, he started his career as a cartoonist and illustrator in 1894. His work appeared in French, German, and American magazines, and he had two comic strips in the Chicago Tribune, The Kin-der-Kids, and Wee Willie Winkie’s World.

In 1913, Feininger was asked to exhibit with the avant-garde Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group. He was invited to be a teacher at the Bauhaus school by Walter Gropius (German, 1883–1969) at its inception and worked there until Hitler closed the school in 1933. Following the rise of Nazism, Feininger returned to the United States in 1936. The Nazis included his work in their Degenerate Art show in Munich in 1937. Feininger continued to paint and teach until his death in New York City in 1956. In addition to his other work, Feininger also ventured into musical composition and photography. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York hosted a major retrospective of his work in 2011. Both of Feininger’s sons were famous in their own right. Andreas Feininger (American, 1906–1999) was a photographer and T. Lux Feininger (American, 1910–2011) was a photographer and painter.


Born Léonell Charles Feininger in New York, NY, USA
Attended the Königliche Akademie where he studied under painter Ernst Hancke, Berlin, Germany
Worked as a caricaturist for the weekly magazine Humoristische Blätter, Berlin, Germany
Attended the Jesuit-run College St. Servais in Liège, Belgium
Returned to Berlin and enrolled at the art school of Karl Schlabitz, Berlin, Germany
Returned to the Königliche Akademie, Berlin, Germany
Moved to Paris where he spends the next six months and visited the art school of the Italian sculptor Filippo Colarossi, Paris, France
Received a Recipient: acquisition prize for Gelmeroda XIII at the Artists for Victory Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY, USA
Instructor Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC, USA
Elected president of the Federation of American Painters and Sculptors
Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters
Died in New York, NY, USA


Lyonel Feininger: Photographs 1928–1939, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Feininger at Harvard: Drawings, Watercolors, and Photographs, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
Sommergäste. Von Arp bis Werefkin - Die Klassische Moderne in Mecklenburg und Pommern, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Germany
Feininger in the Harz, Moeller Fine Art, Berlin, Germany (solo exhibition)
Your Uncle Feininger: Comics, Fairy Tales, and Toys, Moeller Fine Art, Berlin, Germany (solo exhibition)
Lyonel Feininger: Unique and Rare Prints from Quedlinburg, Moeller Fine Art, New York, NY, USA (solo exhibition)
Lyonel Feininger & Mark Tobey: Years of Friendship 1944 - 1956, Moeller Fine Art, New York, NY, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, USA
Lyonel Feininger and Marsden Hartley, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
Artists for Victory, Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY, USA
Nineteen Living American Artists, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
Anger-Museum, Erfurt, Germany
The Great Berlin Art Exhibition, Berlin, Germany

Öffentliche Sammlungen

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA


Mossinger, Ingrid. Lyonel Feininger: The Loebermann Collection Drawings/ Watercolors/ Prints.. New York: Prestel Publishing, 2007
Hess, Hans. Lyonel Feininger. Stuttgart, Germany: Kohlhammer, 1991