Lyonel Feininger: Photographs

Baltic Coast, 1929-1935

Baltic Coast, 1929-1935

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Lyonel Feininger

Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

Beginning in 1892, Feininger spent parts of his summers on the Baltic coast, which was among his most powerful sources of artistic inspiration. He rendered its wild dunes, the sea, dramatic cloud formations, and pedestrians and bathers on the beach in hundreds of sketches, which he later developed into watercolors, finished drawings, and paintings. Around 1905 he made snapshots of family and friends on the Baltic coast, but it was not until the summer of 1929 that the Baltic region became a serious photographic subject.

Five years earlier Feininger had started spending summers in the town of Deep an der Rega (now Mrzezyno, Poland). Almost daily, and in all weather conditions, he took a path through the woods to the beach, photographing stormy seas and skies, as well as hot, sunny days. His photographs of bathers are closely related to his sketches of beachgoers from the same period. After taking up the faster and more portable Leica in 1931, he produced lively snapshots capturing the most dynamic of these lighthearted scenes, which often featured the antics of his three athletic sons.

Feininger also took numerous photographs of the carefully crafted model yachts that he and his son Lux made and sailed on the Baltic Sea or the Rega River. He extended his range to the Baltic towns of Swinemünde, Treptow an der Rega, and Kolberg (now, respectively, Swinoujscie, Trzebiatów, and Kolobrzeg, in Poland) and produced a series of introspective interior studies on the veranda that served as his studio during summers in Deep.`