Art News

The Whitney Museum of American Art Presents a Major Lyonel Feininger Retrospective

artwork: Lyonel Feininger -  "Harbor Mole", 1913 - Oil on canvas  -  © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - Carnegie Museum of Art

New York City.- The Whitney Museum of American Artis proud to present “Lyonel Feininger: At The Edge of the World” from June 30th through October 16th. “Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World” is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where it will be exhibited in 2012. 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.

artwork: Lyonel Feininger - "Lady in Mauve" Oil on canvas - 100.5 × 80 cm. 1922 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. 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.

Feininger was one of the very few fine artists also to draw comic strips as a cartoonist. His short-lived Chicago Tribune comic strips, The Kin-der-Kids and Wee Willie Winkie’s World, were noted for their fey humor and graphic experimentation.

Feininger also had intermittent activity as a pianist and composer, with several piano compositions and fugues for organ extant.
His son, Andreas Feininger, became famous as a photographer of New York City.

As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum’s key resource. The Museum’s signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country’s leading survey of the most recent developments in American art. Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paikin 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney.

artwork: Lyonel Feininger - "Figures and Houses", circa 1949 - Painted wood, overall dimensions variable. Art Institute of Chicago, © Lyonel Feininger Family, LLC./Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY/VG Bild-Kunst

The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities, and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing (with the San Jose Museum of Art) in order to increase access to its renowned collection. The Whitney’s collection— comprising more than 19,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, videos, and new media by more than 2,900 artists—contains some of the most significant and exciting work created by artists in the United States during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Visit the museum’s website at …