© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

By the late 1910s Feininger’s distinctive cubist-inspired style had made the American painter an important member of the modern art movement in Germany. He was particularly drawn to medieval towns and churches, and while living in Weimar in 1913 he made many sketches of the surrounding villages, including Gross Kromsdorf, the subject of this painting. There is one other known version of this work, which Feininger created in 1915 (Minneapolis Institute of Arts). He made this 1921 painting two years after he returned to Weimar to teach at the newly established Bauhaus school. In both works he flattens space and fractures forms while leaving the architectural elements essentially intact and recognizable. Whereas the earlier painting’s somber palette suggests dusk, the warm colors here evoke afternoon sun. Both paintings illustrate the kind of transformation that inspired Feininger to return to the same subject multiple times, often years after making the original sketch.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Lyonel Feininger, American (New York, NY 1871 - 1956 New York, NY)
Gross Kromsdorf III
Work Type
Level 1, Room 1520, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
100.2 x 80.7 cm (39 7/16 x 31 3/4 in.)
frame: 111.4 x 91.9 x 6 cm (43 7/8 x 36 3/16 x 2 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: at u.l.: Feininger 1921
  • label: on upper stretcher bar, at left: Nr. G. 3934 // L.Feininger // Kromsdorf II // Galerie Möller [label is torn and only partially legible]
  • label: on upper stretcher bar, at right: BR // Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, 29 Kirkland St., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 // DEUTSCHE KUNST DES 20. JAHRHUNDERTS DEM BUSCH-REISINGER MUSEUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
  • label: on upper stretcher bar, at right: Lyonel Feininger, Gross Kromsdorf III // Check list number 33 crate number 3 // Städel, Frankfurt Oct. 21, 1982 - Jan. 19, 1983 // Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin Feb. 10, 1983 - April 1983 // Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf May 8 - June 26, 1983
  • label: on right strechter bar, at top: Museum of Modern Art // LOAN // 55. [...] // FEI[...] [Partial label, fragments missing]
  • label: on center stretcher bar, at left: KUNSTSAMMLUNG NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN // Die Blaue Vier // 28/03/98-28/26/98, Düsseldorf // Kat.-Nr. 7 // Lyonel Feininger // 'Gross Kromsdorf III', 1921 // Harvard University, Cambridge
  • label: on left stretcher bar, at top: HAUS DER KUNST MÜNCHEN // Ausstellung : Lyonel Feininger // Name das Künstlers: // Titel des Werkes: Groß Kromsdorf III, 1921 // Leigeber: Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge // Technik: Öl Maße: 100 x 80 Kat.-Nr.: 101
  • label: on left stretcher bar, at bottom: 255
  • label: on lower stretcher bar, at left: [...]35 // L. Feininger // Kromsdorf III [This an old and yellowed label, only partially legible]
  • label: on right stretcher bar, at bottom: BR // Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University // Accession # 1964.14 // Artist: // Lyonel Feininger // (1871-1956) // Title: // Gross Kromsdorf III, 1921 // Medium: // Oil on canvas // Credit Line: // Gift, Mrs. Julia Feininger
Julia Feininger, gift; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1964.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Hess, 219
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Mrs. Julia Feininger
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Hans Hess, Lyonel Feininger, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1961), cat. no. 219

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1967), cat. 5

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 23, repr.

Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 71, ill.

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Die Blaue Vier : Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee in der Neuen Welt, exh. cat., ed. Vivian Endicott Barnett and Josef Helfenstein, DuMont (Cologne, 1997), cat. no. 7; color illus. p. 154

Vivian Endicott Barnett, ed., The Blue Four : Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee in the New World, exh. cat., DuMont (Cologne, 1997), cat. no. 7; color illus. p. 154

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), cover (detail); p. 139

Peter Nisbet, Lyonel Feininger Drawings and Watercolors, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums and Hatje Cantz (Cambridge, MA and Ostfildern, Germany, 2011), p. 13, fig. 1

Exhibition History

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05/08/1967 - 06/11/1967

100th Anniversary of Lyonel Feininger (The), Haus der Kunst München, Munich, 02/26/1973 - 07/24/1973

From Werkbund to Bauhaus: Art and Design in Germany 1900-1934, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983

Lyonel Feininger in Germany: 1887-1937, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge

The Blue Four, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, 12/05/1997 - 03/08/1998; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, 03/28/1998 - 06/28/1998

Modell Bauhaus, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 07/22/2009 - 10/04/2009

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; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munchen, 06/02/2011 - 07/17/2011

32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

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