(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.