Untitled [Five Figures]

To save your search or Lightbox, log in or create an account

American (New York, NY 1871 - 1956 New York, NY)
Untitled [Five Figures], November 1933
20th century
Watercolor and charcoal on cream laid paper
23.4 x 30.1 cm (9 3/16 x 11 7/8 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Bequest of William S. Lieberman
, 2009.100.18
signed: l.l., black ink: Feininger
inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: verso, l.l., graphite: TR1248
inscription: recto, lower right, black ink: recto, l.r., black ink: Nov. 1933
Lyonel Feininger (1955-56), bequest; to Julia Feininger (1956-by 1970), gift; to William S. Lieberman (by 1970-2005), bequest; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2006.

According to Peter Nisbet's 11 Sept. 2008 memo to Frank Connors (in object file, along with other documentation), it is highly likely that Julia Feininger, the artist's widow, gave William Lieberman (1924-2005) the 590 drawings that compose the Lieberman Bequest. Neither the lawyers for Feininger's estate nor his two sons have been able to confirm whether, and at what time, Julia might have given Lieberman the drawings. However, their statements corroborate the friendship between Julia and Lieberman, and the likelihood of her giving him such a gift.

Lieberman would have received the drawings between 1956, when Feininger died, and 1970, when Julia died. Beginning in the 1960s, nearly all of the drawings were, at some point, on loan to MoMA. Some of the loans came from Lieberman, while others came from Julia; of the loans given by Julia, many passed into Lieberman's ownership later, at which point he re-loaned some of them to MoMA.

Lieberman's personal papers, which might contain more specific information about how he acquired the drawings, are not currently accessible. They are in the care of his executor, Anne Strauss of the Metropolitan Museum, who has yet to examine them.
Peter Nisbet, Lyonel Feininger Drawings and Watercolors, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums and Hatje Cantz (Cambridge, MA and Ostfildern, Germany, 2011), cat. no. 27, p. 61

Exhibition History
Lyonel Feininger: Drawings and Watercolors from the William S. Lieberman Bequest to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 02/26/2011 - 05/15/2011, 27; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munchen, 06/02/2011 - 07/17/2011, 27