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Munich –Lyonel Feininger


This dual exhibition of partly unknown works by the German-American artist Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956) provides an overview of Feininger’s graphic œuvre as well as of his photographic output.

The show has been compiled by the Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum. The Harvard Art Museums own the most extensive holdings of the artist’s works. A selection of some 80 of the most beautiful drawings and watercolours has been made from the William S. Lieberman Bequest, donated by the former curator of the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, William S. Lieberman (1924–2005), that comprises more than 400 works by the artist. These give an overview of Feininger’s works on paper and his artistic development.

The drawings and watercolours exhibited here range from Feininger’s early days in the 1890s and his stay in Paris before World War I, to the time he was working at the Bauhaus up until his final creative period in exile in the USA. The spectrum of his subject matter extends from early studies of nature to caricatures and the grotesque, from his preoccupation with motifs of villages and churches from the Middle Ages, especially in Thuringia and along Baltic coast, to ships at sea, beachscapes and atmospheric cloud formations. In addition, three paintings by the artist dating from between 1912 and 1926 highlight Feininger’s early deliberations on Cubism and clearly show his increasing tendency towards adopting architectural and geometrical forms.

A separate part of the exhibition is devoted to the artist’s much less known work: his photography. A representative selection of approx. 80 photographs from between 1928–1939, largely from the holdings of the Houghton Library at Harvard University and supplemented by loans from the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin and the Moritzburg Foundation in Halle, among others, is to be shown. The photographs predominantly date from Feininger’s time at the Bauhaus in Dessau, when he experimented with this medium for the first time, until the first few years of his exile in America. Feininger’s main interest was the effects of light and shadow, nocturnal moods with artificial lighting, reflections on wet roads or shop windows, as well as architectural motifs and street scenes. Experiments with double exposures, blurring and contrasting light led to remarkable alienating effects. The photos in the exhibition allow Lyonel Feininger to be re-discovered as a photographer of the modern age with a pronounced artistic standard and standing, while his son, Andreas, already enjoys the status of an internationally acclaimed photographer.

(Press release)

Two exhibition catalogues are being published by Hatje Cantz, edited by Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., each c. 150 pages.
Lyonel Feininger. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle / Drawings and Watercolors. Text by Peter Nisbet.
Lyonel Feininger. Fotografien / Photographs 1928–1939. Texts by Laura Muir and Nathan J. Timpano.

Feininger from Harvard – Drawings, watercolours and photographs

Through July 17
Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Str. 40
80333 München, Allemagne
089 23805-360

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