© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

When Feininger painted this work in 1915, the American-born artist and former cartoonist was gaining prominence in Germany’s modern art circles. Avenue of Trees reflects a shift away from his early figurative painting toward a new style inspired by the spatial investigations of cubism. The work of Picasso and Braque intrigued many artists in Germany. Some, like Feininger, had encountered it in Paris. Others had seen it in exhibitions such as those organized by the pioneering Galerie der Sturm in Berlin, which exhibited this painting in 1917 under the French title Allée. Employing a technique of faceting and fragmenting, Feininger transforms a scene derived from nature into a crystalline world of intersecting geometric planes that in places verges on abstraction. By the time Feininger became a master at the Bauhaus in 1919, his paintings had become increasingly architectonic and abstract, and the human figure had all but disappeared.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Lyonel Feininger, American (New York, NY 1871 - 1956 New York, NY)
Avenue of Trees
Other Titles
Former Title: Allee
Alternate Title: Alley of Trees
Work Type
Level 1, Room 1300, Modern and Contemporary Art, Early Modernism
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
80.5 x 100.5 cm (31 11/16 x 39 9/16 in.)
frame: 95.3 x 114.5 x 5.1 cm (37 1/2 x 45 1/16 x 2 in.)
The artist (1915-1956) by descent; to Julia Feininger, New York (1956-1970). William S. Lieberman, New York (by 1973-2006), bequest; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2006.

Note: Painting may have passed from Julia Feininger to William S. Lieberman by gift or bequest.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Hess, 133
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Bequest of William S. Lieberman
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Howard Devree, A Famous Group: Exhibition of Work of The Blue Rider Reveals Continuing Influence, The New York Times (New York, 1954), X13, p. X13, ill.

Hans Hess, Lyonel Feininger, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1961), cat. no. 133

Douglas Cooper, The Cubist Epoch, Phaidon Press Limited, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (London and New York, 1971), p. 145, plate 141, ill.

Lyonel Feininger, Lyonel Feininger, exh. cat., Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Haus der Kunst München, and Kunsthaus Zürich (Munich, 1973), Cat. no. 86, ill. (b/w)

Dr. Ulrich Luckhardt, Lyonel Feininger, Prestel Verlag (Munich, 1989), p. 88, no. 20

Lisa M. Messinger, The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Federation of Arts and Rizzoli (New York, 1991), p. 114

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), p. 152, no. 2, ill. (color)

Thomas W. Lentz, ed., Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, 2008), p. 31, ill.

Peter Nisbet, Lyonel Feininger Drawings and Watercolors, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums and Hatje Cantz (Cambridge, MA and Ostfildern, Germany, 2011), p. 131, fig. 20

Laura Muir, Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928-1939, exh. cat. (Ostfildern, Germany, 2011), p. 26, fig. 12, ill.

Will Grohmann, Im Netzwerk der Moderne: Kirchner, Braque, Kandinsky, Klee, Richter, Bacon, Altenbourg, und ihr Kritiker, exh. cat., Hirmer (Dresden, Germany, 2012), pp. 128-131, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

Fünfundfündfzigste Ausstelung: Lyomel Feininger, Gemälde und Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin, 09/01/1917 - 09/30/1917

48, Ausstellung: Lyonel Feininger, Neue Kunst Hans Goltz, Munich, 10/01/1918 - 10/31/1918

Lyonel Feininger, Folkwang Museum, Hagen, 02/01/1919 - 03/31/1919

Lyonel Feininger: Sonder-Ausstellung seiner Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Holzschnitte, Galerie Emil Richter, Dresden, 09/01/1919 - 09/30/1919

Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger: Gemälde, Graphik, XXIX, Sonder-Ausstellung, Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, 11/30/1919 - 01/01/1920

Lyonel Feininger: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen 1907-1921, Kunstvereins-Heim, Erfurt, 11/06/1921 - 12/04/1921

The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, The Oakland Art Gallery, 05/22/1926 - 06/15/1926

The Blue Four, Portland Art Museum, 04/01/1927 - 04/30/1927; Spokane Art Association, 05/15/2016 - 05/31/2016

The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Harry Braxton Gallery, Hollywood, 04/15/1930 - 04/30/1930

Presenting Lyonel Feininger: A Retrospective Exhibition at the University of Minnesota, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, 04/01/1938 - 04/30/1938

Lyonel Feininger, Marsden Hartley, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 10/24/1944 - 01/14/1945

Lyonel Feininger, Curt Valentin Gallery, 03/18/1952 - 04/12/1952

Der Blaue Reiter, Curt Valentin Gallery, 12/07/1954 - 01/08/1955

Artists of the Blaue Reiter: Exhibition of Painting and Graphic Works, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 01/21/1955 - 02/24/1955

Lyonel Feininger: Memorial Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, 11/05/1959 - 12/13/1959; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 01/05/1960 - 02/07/1960; Cleveland Museum of Art, 02/18/1960 - 03/20/1960; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 04/08/1960 - 05/08/1960; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 05/19/1960 - 06/26/1960

Lyonel Feininger 1871-1956: Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, Kunstverein Hamburg, 01/21/1961 - 03/05/1961; Museum Folkwang Essen, 03/15/1961 - 05/07/1961; Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 05/14/1961 - 06/25/1961

Lyonel Feininger: A Retrospective, Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, 04/10/1963 - 05/05/1963

Feininger: Oils and Watercolors 1908-1955, Marian Willard Gallery, 04/14/1964 - 05/16/1964

1914: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Created in 1914, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10/06/1964 - 11/15/1964

Lyonel Feininger, Haus der Kunst München, 03/24/1973 - 05/13/1973; Kunsthaus Zürich, 05/25/1973 - 07/22/1973

Lyonel Feininger 1871-1956: Lent by the Brooklyn Museum, THe Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach Florida, 03/12/1976 - 04/11/1976

The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philbrook Museum of Art, 04/14/1991 - 06/09/1991; Center for Fine Arts, Miami, 06/29/1991 - 08/24/1991; Joslyn Art Museum, 09/14/1991 - 11/10/1991; Tampa Museum of Art, 12/14/1991 - 02/08/1992; Greenville County Museum of Art, 03/17/1992 - 05/10/1992; Madison Art Center, 06/06/1992 - 08/02/1992; Grand Rapids Art Museum, 09/11/1992 - 11/08/1992

Die Blaue Vier: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee in der Neuen Welt, Kunstmuseum Bern, 12/05/1997 - 03/01/1998; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 03/28/1998 - 06/28/1998

Lyonel Feininger - The early paintings 1907-1918, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, 09/17/2006 - 01/07/2007

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

Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 06/30/2011 - 10/16/2011; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 01/16/2012 - 05/13/2012

In the Network of Modernism. Kirchner, Braque, Kandinsky, Klee ... Richter, Bacon, Altenbourg and their critic Will Grohmann, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden, 09/27/2012 - 01/06/2013

32Q: 1300 Early Modernism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

Collection Highlights

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu