Meeting Lyonel Feininger

Lyonel Feininger, Waterfront, 1942. Watercolor and black ink on paper, 11 1/2 x 18 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

I hadn’t heard of the artist Lyonel Feininger until I opened the New York Times to see Roberta Smith’s review of the Whitney exhibition, Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World.

Smith brings up what we’re all thinking when we look at the works in the exhibition: the whimsy and color of Chagall, expressiveness of Kandinsky, and maybe even a little Tim Burton meets Pinocchio.

It’s discoveries like this one that inspire me to learn more.

In fact, my colleagues in the library and in conservation pointed out that the Phillips has several works by Feininger. I met our librarian Karen Schneider in the galleries adjacent to our Kandinsky exhibition, hung with expressionist works, to view four beautiful watercolors by the artist. Our conservation fellow Patti Favero then took me backstage (i.e. to storage) to view one of two paintings we have by Feininger, Spook I (pictured below). There’s something adorably amusing about the little jack-o-lantern-like figures with top hats dancing about in the painting. Even the trees seem to be wearing witches hats.

When the leaves begin to change and the weather cools I’ll head to New York to experience the Whitney exhibition. You can, too: At the Edge of the World is on view through October 16 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Megan Clark, Manager of Center Initiatives

Lyonel Feininger, Spook I, 1940. Oil on canvas, 21 x 21 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Meeting Lyonel Feininger

  1. Pingback: Kandinsky: A Russian-born German Expressionist « The Experiment Station

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