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Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World

June 30–Oct 16, 2011

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), The Green Bridge II (Grüne Brücke II), 1916. Oil on canvas, 49 3/8 × 39 1/2 in. (125.4 × 100.3 cm). North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; gift of Mrs. Ferdinand Möller © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis), 1915. Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 × 31 1/2 in. (100.3 × 80 cm). Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Born and raised in New York, Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956) moved at the age of sixteen to Germany, where he became one of the leading practitioners of German Expressionism and the Bauhaus. In the late 1930s, when the Nazi campaign against modern art forced him to flee back to New York after an absence of fifty years, his marriage of abstraction and recognizable imagery made him a beloved artist in the United States. Long acknowledged as a major figure of the Bauhaus, Feininger is renowned for his romantic, crystalline paintings of architecture and seascapes. Less well known are the whimsical aspects of his work: his pioneering Chicago Sunday Tribune comic strips; his figurative, Expressionist compositions; his photographs; and his miniature hand-carved wooden figures and buildings, known as City at the Edge of the World. This retrospective is the first in Feininger’s native country in more than forty-five years, and the first ever to include the full breadth of his art.
 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated monograph with a feature essay that provides a broad overview of Feininger’s career, tracing his relationships with movements and organizations that defined the development of modern art, including Cubism, the Blaue Reiter, the Blue Four, the Bauhaus, and Black Mountain College. Additional essays focus on Feininger’s comics, his photographs, his musical compositions, and his reputation in Germany.
 
Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World is organized by Barbara Haskell, with the assistance of Sasha Nicholas. The exhibition travels to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, January 20–May 13, 2012.

Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

This exhibition and catalogue are made possible, in part, by generous grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation.


 

 
Terra Foundation for American Art The Henry Luce Foundation

Major underwriting for this exhibition is provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, in memory of Stephen M. Kellen.

Additional support is provided by Ted and Mary Jo Shen, the Karen and Kevin Kennedy Foundation, Susan R. Malloy, Déborah, André, and Dan Mayer, Carol and Paul Miller, Joseph Edelman and Pamela Keld, Geraldine S. Kunstadter, the Karen and Paul Levy Family Foundation, Marica and Jan Vilcek, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, The Donald and Barbara Zucker Family Foundation, and several anonymous donors.

Media Partner WNYC

Works from the Exhibition

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Figures and houses, c. 1949. Painted wood, overall dimensions variable. Art Institute of Chicago; bequest of Maxine Kunstadter. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; photograph © The Art Institute of Chicago
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Architecture II (The Man from Potin) [Architektur II], 1921. Oil on canvas, 39 8/10 × 31 7/10 in. (101 × 80.5 cm). Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Carnival in Arcueil, 1911. Oil on canvas, 41 3/10 × 37 8/10 in. (104.8 × 95.9 cm). Art Institute of Chicago; Joseph Winterbotham Collection. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph © The Art Institute of Chicago
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), In a Village Near Paris (Street in Paris, Pink Sky), 1909. Oil on canvas, 39 ¾ x 32 in. (101 × 81.3 cm). University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City; gift of Owen and Leone Elliott. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Lady in Mauve, 1922. Oil on canvas, 39 2/5 × 31 ½ in (100.5 × 80 cm). Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956), Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis), 1915. Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 × 31 1/2 in. (100.3 × 80 cm). Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Generously illustrated, this publication features works from throughout Feininger’s diverse career, including his turn-of-the-century satirical illustrations and comics, his carnivalesque Expressionist compositions and crystalline architectural scenes, his whimsical village of hand-carved wooden figures, and his late oils of New York City. The main essay discusses the full breadth of Feininger’s career, tracing his relationship with groups and institutions that defined the development of modern art, including Cubism, the Blaue Reiter, the Blue Four, the Bauhaus, and Black Mountain College. Additional essays focus on facets of Feininger’s work including his comics, his photographs, his musical compositions and their relationship to his visual art, and his reputation in Germany.

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View current publications

Review: " a poignant, revelatory survey"
The New York Times

Review: “a revelation”
The Wall Street Journal

Review: “Known mostly as a loyal Bauhaus cubist, [Feininger] emerges here as a complex master with a subtle sense of light and line.”
Financial Times

“a rewarding and substantial overview of this underexposed artist’s work”
WNET Sunday Arts

“Lyonel Feininger is Living On the Edge at the Whitney”
The New York Observer

Interview with curator Barbara Haskell
ArtInfo

At the Edge of the World is named a summer must-see.
The New York Times