|Death Date: January 13, 1956
|Charles Lyonel Feininger, known as Lyonel, was born in New York City. Trained by his parents, who were professional musicians, he was a lover of music who performed violin concerts by the age of twelve. At sixteen, Feininger went to Europe to study music, but it was art that called to him. He became a popular cartoonist and illustrator of “The Kin-der-kids” and “Wee Willie Winkie’s World” in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Under the influence of the German Cubists, from the Blaue Reiter group (Blaue Reiter included Klee, Kandinsky and Alexij von Jawlensky) and Bauhaus School, Feininger originated a style of painting that consisted of shifting planes and seemingly transparent rainbow hues. An obsessive draftsman, he made thousands of sketches from nature, which he would then generalize into a final composition, translating the scene into a more universal, timeless statement. In his landscapes, Feininger harmoniously joined the stylistic innovations of modern art to traditional subject matter, creating a private, ideal world.
In the mid-1930s, after the Nazis closed the Bauhaus School, Feininger returned to the states. His paintings were typified by Hitler as “degenerate art”.
Shortly before his death in 1956, Feininger was asked which artist had influenced him the most. He replied, “Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach’s music is comparable terse, and that is one of the reasons it is so mighty”.