Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), American-born German painter, was the son of a concert violinist and a singer and pianist from Germany. In 1887 Feininger followed his parents to Europe, where he attended the drawing and painting class at the "Gewerbeschule" in Hamburg and then studied at the "Königliche Kunst-Akademie" in Berlin from 1888-1892. For one year he subsequently attended the private art school of the Italian sculptor Filippo Colarossi in Paris.
Together with Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky, Lyonel Feininger founded the group "Die Blauen Vier" in 1924. In 1931 there was a first comprehensive retrospective at the "Kronprinzen-Palais" in Berlin, to where the artist moved in 1933. In 1937 Lyonel Feininger moved to New York. That same year more than 400 of his works were confiscated by the Nazis in Germany. Feininger had to wait for his breakthrough as an artist in the US until 1944, when he had a successful retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art. From 1945 Feininger held a summer course at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he met Gropius and Einstein. Feininger's classes, his texts and later watercolors set a trend for the development of Abstract Expressionist painting in the US.
In 1893 Feininger returned to Berlin, where he worked as an illustrator among other things until 1906. For the next two years Lyonel Feiniger stayed in Paris, where he got in contact with the "Café du Dôme" circle of the German students of Matisse and with Robert Delaunay. In 1909 Lyonel Feininger joined the "Berliner Sezession", in whose exhibitions Feininger first participated a year later. For the occasion of his exhibition at the "Salon des Indépendants" the artist traveled to Paris in 1911, where he made contact with Cubism. His acquantance with Alfred Kubin and the "Brücke" painters Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Erich Heckel opened up new dimensions in his works in 1912. Feininger produced his first architectural compositions with his typical Cubist fragmentations. In 1913, upon invitation by Franz Marc, Feininger participated in the "Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon" at Herwarth Walden's "Sturm" gallery in Berlin, where he also held his first solo exhibition in 1917. In 1919 Walter Gropius invited Feininger to the "Bauhaus", where he taught graphic art and painting until 1926.
Feininger, Lyonel - Pittore, nato a New York da genitori tedeschi il 17 luglio 1871.
Studiò dapprima musica col padre, poi, nel 1887, si stabilì in Germania e si dedicò alla pittura: dal 1887 - 1888 studiò alla Scuola d'arte industriale di Amburgo, dal 1888 - 1892 all'Accademia di Berlino e dal 1892 - 1893 a Parigi.
Iniziò con un'attività di illustratore, presto abbandonata pe orientarsi, a contatto del cubismo da cui rimase sensibilmente influenzato, verso rigorose astrazioni formali.
Nel 1913 si associò con Franz Marc e Paul Klee nell'esposizione berlinese del Blauer Reiter.
Dal 1919 - 1933 fu insegnante al Bauhaus a Weimar e Dessau.
Con P. Klee, Wassily Kandinsky e A. Javlenskij formò, nel 1926, il gruppo astrattista Blaue Vier. Nel 1936 tornò a New York dove si stabilì.
La visione astratta del Feininger, per lo più ispirata a motivi architettonici e di paesaggi marini severamente semplificati e organizzati in costruzioni di cristallino nitore e sobria grandezza, mediante una diffrazione della luce in piani che compongono forme schematiche e riassuntive, esprime un senso di grande austerità morale, evoca un mondo remoto e misterioso. | di Italo FALDI ©Treccani, Enciclopedia Italiana