July 17 Art Minute: Lyonel Feininger, Baltic, A Recollection

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Lyonel Feininger (American, active Germany, 1871–1956), Baltic, A Recollection. Oil on canvas, 1947. 20 inches by 34 7/8 inches. Museum Purchase, 1948.69. Gallery 6

Lyonel Feininger (American, active Germany, 1871–1956), Baltic, A Recollection. Oil on canvas, 1947. 20 inches by 34 7/8 inches. Museum Purchase, 1948.69. Gallery 6

Lyonel Feininger spent the first 16 years of his life in New York before moving to Germany, where he ultimately became one of the leading practitioners of German Expressionism and the avant-garde style promoted by the Bauhaus design school. With the rise of Nazism, Feininger was forced to flee Germany in 1936, eventually settling in New York.

Well known for his dreamlike seascapes, of which Baltic, A Recollection is a prime example, Feininger once commented, “the mystical quality in the object has always kept me spellbound.” Having been exposed to Cubist art during its height in Paris, Feininger’s work bore the mark of that movement, notably in his organization of space by planes. But his work was also frequently infused with an air of mystery and wonder that was all his own. He once remarked, “That which is seen has to go through a process of transformation and crystallization to become a picture.”


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