One of the most versatile talents of the modern art movement in Germany, the American-born Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956) is celebrated as a master of caricature, figurative painting, and a distinctive brand of cubism, but he also created a fascinating body of photographic work that is virtually unknown. Drawn primarily from the artist’s own collection (now at Harvard University), this exhibition offers the first opportunity to consider his achievement within the medium. Focusing on the rich and productive period between 1928 and the late 1930s, when Feininger was experimenting with an array of avant-garde photographic techniques and printing his own work, these photographs range from early atmospheric night views made at the Bauhaus (where he took up the camera in 1928) to bird’s-eye views of New York City (where he settled permanently in 1937).
The Sackler Museum is the final venue for this traveling exhibition. Selected drawings and watercolors by the artist from the Art Museums’ collections will also be on view. Curated by Laura Muir, Assistant Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums. Organized by the Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, in cooperation with the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The exhibition, tour, and catalogue were funded through the generosity of the German Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Dedalus Foundation, Inc., and the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer Jr. Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums. The exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum is made possible also by the Alexander S., Robert L., and Bruce A. Beal Exhibition Fund; Anthony and Celeste Meier Exhibitions Fund; Charlotte and Irving Rabb Exhibition Fund; and Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions.
Research Tool: A searchable database of the more than 18,000 photographic objects housed in the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s Lyonel Feininger Archive is available at harvardartmuseums.org/feiningerphotographs.
Harvard University Exhibition: Harvard’s Houghton Library houses Lyonel Feininger’s extensive correspondence and is the primary lender to the Art Museums’ exhibition Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939. A photo album compiled by the artist and letters in which he discusses his photography will be on view on the lower level of Houghton Library, Harvard Yard, from March 5 through June 2, 2012.