"I packed up my drawing materials this morning, my suitcase is closed and I have not now the resource—the never-failing one—of making a few crazy little ghosties on paper and putting bright colors on the lines. All the long evenings I have been creating demons, pixies, ‘Mysterious Petes,’ and lantern-jowled professors, to pass the hours before one can call it decently ‘a day’ and creep into bed at ten o’clock.”

- Lyonel Feininger to T. Lux Feininger, October 12, 1953

Text/Image Swiper

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1954

Watercolor and ink on paper
8 x 6 5/16 in. (20.3 x 16 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

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Text/Image Swiper

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Four Dogs and and Owl, c. 1953

Watercolor and ink on paper
3 x 6 1/8 in. (7.6 x 15.6 cm)

Signed upper left: Feininger

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Text/Image Swiper

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1955

Watercolor and crayon on paper

3 11/16 x 3 5/16 in. (9.5 x 8.3 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 16. VII. `55

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Images

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Merry Christmas (Three Figures), c. 1950
Watercolor, ink, and gold paint on paper

3 1/4 x 4 in. (8.3 x 11.4 cm)

Inscribed upper center with typewriter: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Merry Christmas (Three Figures), c. 1950
Watercolor, ink, and gold paint on paper

2 1/2 x 4 in. (6.4 x 10.2 cm)

Inscribed upper left with typewriter: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Merry Christmas, c. 1953

Watercolor, gold paint, and ink on paper
3 5/16 x 4 1/8 in. (8.4 x 10.5 cm)

Inscribed upper center in typewriter: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

What's the Big Idea?, 1954

Watercolor and ink on paper
3 1/8 x 6 5/16 in. (7.9 x 16 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

Titled lower center: WHAT'S THE Big Idea?

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1954

Watercolor and ink on paper
8 x 6 5/16 in. (20.3 x 16 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 1954

Inquire

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Dogs and an Owl), c. 1953

Watercolor and ink on paper
3 x 6 1/8 in. (7.6 x 15.6 cm)

Signed upper left: Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Three Figures and a Cat), 1953

Watercolor and ink on paper

4 3/4 x 6 in. (12.1 x 15.2 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger `53

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Four Figures), 1955

Watercolor and crayon on paper

3 11/16 x 3 5/16 in. (9.5 x 8.3 cm)

Signed and dated lower left: Feininger 16. VII. `55

Inquire

Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

(Five Figures), c. 1950

Watercolor and ink on paper
3 1/4 x 6 in. (8.3 x 15.2 cm)

Signed lower left: Feininger

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Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956)

Sympathetic Gallery Visitors, c. 1952

Watercolor, gold paint, and ink on paper
3 x 5 1/2 in. (7.6 x 14 cm)

Titled upper center: Sympathetic Gallery Visitors.

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Description

Here we highlight perhaps the most intimate of Lyonel Feininger’s (1871–1956) works: small watercolor and mixed media drawings that he gave to his friends and family for their private enjoyment. Featuring linear figures in lively compositions, these imaginative, colorful drawings were one of the ways that the artist expressed his affection for those closest to him. He called them “Ghosties” for their spectral central figures, and they provide a glimpse into his personal world. We are pleased to offer 11 “Ghosties” available for purchase exclusively through Moeller Fine Art.

Feininger made the “Ghosties” from the late 1940s until his death in 1956. They were inspired by his memories of his childhood in New York. As art historian Ernst Scheyer wrote about his friend’s drawings: “The prankish but benign goblins do not seem to be fully corporealized; they give the impression that they will disappear before one's eyes before they have ever fully existed."

Video

Chronology

Portrait of Lyonel Feininger, 1951

Photo: Andreas Feininger (1906-1999)

Chronology

1871
Lyonel Feininger is born on July 17 in New York to Karl and Elizabeth Feininger; he is the first of three children.

1887
Leaves for Germany and starts studying at the General Vocational and Crafts School in Hamburg.

1888
Moves to Berlin and begins studying at the Royal Academy of Arts.

1892
Leaves the Academy and moves to Paris.

1893
Moves back to Berlin and starts working as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator.

1901
Marries Clara Fürst, birth of daughter Eleonora. 

1902
Birth of daughter Marianne.

1905
Meets Julia Berg (née Lilienfeld) and separates from his wife.

1906
Moves with Julia to Paris and their son Andreas is born. Works on two comic strips for The Chicago Sunday Tribune.

1907
Executes his first oil painting.

1908
Marries Julia in London, returns to Berlin.

1909
Birth of son Laurence.

1910
Birth of son Theodore Lux (T. Lux).

1911
Six paintings are shown at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris.

1913
Five paintings are shown at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon, organized by the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin.

1917
First solo exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm.

1919
Is appointed the first master of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar.

1921
Composes his first fugue.

1926
Moves with the Bauhaus to Dessau as master without teaching duties.

1929
Works on a series of paintings for the City of Halle (Saale).

1931
Completes his Halle series. Retrospectives in Dresden, Essen, and at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

1934
Moves to Berlin-Siemensstadt.

1935
The National Socialists declare his art “degenerate.”

1936
Teaches a summer course at Mills College in Oakland, California.  

1937
Leaves Germany, teaches another summer course at Mills College and then settles in New York City.

1939
Works on murals for the 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair.

1942
One of his paintings is awarded a purchase prize by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

1944
Retrospective with Marsden Hartley at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1945
Teaches a summer course at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina.

1956
Dies on January 13 in his New York apartment.

Catalogue Raisonnés

Catalogue Raisonnés

Achim Moeller founded The Lyonel Feininger Project in 1987, to prepare the catalogues raisonnés on Lyonel Feininger, provide certificates of authenticity, exhibition consultation, and conduct and support research on the artist. With locations in New York and Berlin, The Lyonel Feininger Project organizes scholarly exhibitions and maintains a 20,000-volume reference library.

Lyonel Feininger: The Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Achim Moeller can be accessed at feiningerproject.org.

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