Lyonel Feininger: Photographs


Julia Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

1871: Born on July 17 in New York to Karl (Charles) Feininger and Elisabeth Cecilia Feininger.

1887: Joins his parents in Germany during their tour of Europe; stays to study art at the Allgemeinen Gewerbeschule (General Vocational School) in Hamburg, rather than study music in Leipzig, as his parents had wished.

1888: Admitted to the Königliche Akademie der Künste (Royal Academy of Art) in Berlin. 

1897–99: Works as a caricaturist for the magazines Ulk and Das Narrenschiff.

1901: Marries Clara Fürst; their first daughter, Lore, is born.

1902: Second daughter, Marianne, is born; Feininger exhibits three drawings in the sixth exhibition of the Berlin Secession.

1905: Meets Julia Berg, née Lilienfeld, and separates from Clara; makes photographs on the Baltic Coast.

1906–1908: Studies art in Paris at the Académie Colarossi; photographs his family and locations around Paris; son Andreas is born in 1906.

1907: Takes up painting.

1908–1909: Marries Julia in London in 1908; photographs her in Heringsdorf on the Baltic Coast, along with their sons Andreas and Laurence (born in 1909).

1909–1919: Moves with family to Zehlendorf, a suburb of Berlin, and continues to photograph his family; son Theodore Lux (T. Lux) is born in 1910.

1913–1914: Brief stay in Weimar; photographs his three sons, Andreas, Laurence, and Lux, in rural landscapes.

1919–1926: Moves with family to Weimar to join the faculty of the Bauhaus, which moves to Dessau in 1926.

1928–1929: Living in Dessau; acquires a Voigtländer Bergheil camera and begins to explore photography as a fine art form, experimenting with night imagery and various avant-garde photographic techniques.

1929–1931: Accepts a commission from Alois Schardt, director of the Städtisches Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Halle an der Saale, to paint a picture of the city; lives in Halle and makes photographs to use as studies for his paintings.

1930s: Photographs his family at Deep an der Rega (now Mrzezyno, Poland) and other locations on the Baltic Coast.

1931: Travels to France in June and July; visits his friends Theodore and Margaret Spicer-Simson in Bourron; makes trips to Paris before heading to Brittany with his son Lux; photographs urban and rural life, street scenes, and architectural studies, using a newly acquired Leica camera and 35mm film.

1932: The Nazis close the Bauhaus; Feininger makes a series of photographs of shop windows and mannequins in Dessau between 1932 and 1933.

1933–1937: Moves with family to Berlin in 1933; moves to new apartment in Siemensstadt in 1934; photographs Berlin and environs.

1936: Teaches summer course at Mills College in Oakland, California; travels by ship to Cuba, Panama Canal, and Los Angeles before arriving in San Francisco Bay Area; when course is finished, travels by ship from New York to Stockholm to visit Andreas and his family; takes boat to Hamburg, photographing the journey.

1937: Teaches for a second summer at Mills College; moves permanently to New York in September.

Late 1930s–1940s: Begins to use black-and-white slide film; uses it to rephotograph many of his European images from the 1920s and 1930s.

1938–1955: Spends summers in New England; photographs rural life as a contrast to urban New York subjects; visits Walter Gropius in South Lincoln, Massachusetts; makes several trips to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to visit his son Lux, as well as Charles Kuhn, curator at Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum; experiments with color slide film.

1956: Dies on January 15 in New York.