On the cover of the Bauhaus manifesto: Lyonel Feininger’s 'Cathedral'. The seminal aim of the Bauhaus coalesces in the woodcut: craftsmanship and art, a new unity. Feininger himself embodied this founding idea, which brought him to the Bauhaus as one of its first masters.

Portrait of Lyonel Feininger, photo: Andreas Feininger, 1928. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Zeppelin-Museum / Getty Images.
Portrait of Lyonel Feininger, photo: Andreas Feininger, 1928. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Zeppelin-Museum / Getty Images.

Lyonel Feininger studied drawing at the vocational school in Hamburg in 1887. One year later, he was accepted at the Königliche Akademie der Künste (royal academy of art) in Berlin where he attended painting classes taught by Ernst Hancke. In 1891, he continued his studies at a private art school. Between 1892 and 1909, he travelled extensively to Paris, Rome, London and elsewhere. At the same he published caricatures in various magazines such as 'Narrenschiff' and 'Lustige Blätter'. In addition, he was represented at exhibitions such as the Große Berliner Kunstausstellung (great Berlin art exhibition) of 1904, and in 1909, he became a member of the Berlin Secession. In 1907, Feininger turned to painting and exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in Paris in 1911. He was invited by Franz Marc to exhibit some of his works for the first time at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon (first German autumn salon) at Herwarth Walden’s gallery Der Sturm in 1913. In 1919, he became a member of the work council for art and pursued Walter Gropius to Weimar.

Cathedral, cover of the manifesto and programme of the Weimar State Bauhaus, auhtor: Lyonel Feininger, April 1919. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Cathedral, cover of the manifesto and programme of the Weimar State Bauhaus, auhtor: Lyonel Feininger, April 1919. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

Walter Gropius appointed him as one of the first masters at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar in May 1919, where he served as master of form in the printing workshop from 1919 to 1925. His woodcut Cathedral was used to illustrate the cover of the Bauhaus Manifesto of 1919. In 1921, a folder with 12 woodcuts by Feininger was the first publication to be printed at the Bauhaus Weimar. In 1924, he joined with Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to form the exhibition collective 'Die Blauen Vier' (The Blue Four).

Postcards for the Lantern Festival, author: Lyonel Feininger, 1922. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Postcards for the Lantern Festival, author: Lyonel Feininger, 1922. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

During his Bauhaus period, works by Lyonel Feininger, father of Bauhaus students Andreas and Theodore Lux Feininger, were shown in many exhibitions, for instance at the Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince palace) in Berlin in 1928 and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1929. In 1937, Feininger emigrated to the USA and taught at Mills College in Oakland, California, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Many exhibitions of his work took place in the USA, such as the retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York in 1944.

Halle. Am Trödel, author: Lyonel Feininger, 1929. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Halle. Am Trödel, author: Lyonel Feininger, 1929. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

Literature:
Büche, Wolfgang (1995): Lyonel Feininger. Gelmeroda. Ein Maler und sein Motiv, Stuttgart.
Büche, Wolfgang (2010): Lyonel Feininger. Die Halle-Bilder, Stiftung Moritzburg, Kunstmuseum des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt, Hall, Munich.
Fromm, Andrea (2009): Feininger und das Bauhaus. Weimar − Dessau − New York, Kunsthaus Avantgarde (Apolda), Hamburg.
Gerlach-Laxner, Uta & Ellen Schwinzer (2009): Lyonel Feininger − Paul Klee: Malerfreunde am Bauhaus, Ausstellungskatalog, Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm, Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg, Bramsche.
März, Roland (1999): Lyonel Feininger. Von Gelmeroda nach Manhattan, Berlin.
Muir, Laura & Nathan J Timpano (2011): Lyonel Feininger: Photographs 1928–1939, Ostfildern.