Merry Christmas (Three Figures)
Watercolor, ink and gold colour on wove paper
3 x 4 1/2 inches (7,6 x 11,4 cm)
6 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches (16,6 x 10,7 cm)
Windmühle in Werder
7 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches (18,1 x 18,1 cm)
In total, only three proofs of the later destroyed woodblock are known; our copy on oatmeal brown carbon paper, another on yellow tissue paper and a print on lngres handmade paper.
Feininger visited Werder, located southeast of Berlin on the Havel River, with his wife on April 26, 1912. It may be that our woodcut is based on this experience and a charcoal drawing from June 6, 1912.
The windmill shown in the print, crowned by a pennant, rises monumentally on a hill, just as in the drawing. It is placed slightly off-center to the right, with several houses below it.
In our high-contrast copy of the print, we once again see the typical cubist fragmentation of planes and simultaneity of multiple perspectives that characterize Feininger's classic woodcut.
The windmill has been a recurring theme since the artist's childhood and is of particular symbolic importance to him. Thus, the motif appears in Feininger's work, for example, in a cartoon, a postcard, a lithograph, etchings, drawings, watercolors and paintings.
Treptow on the Rega
Pencil on wove paper (perforated at the upper margin and pierced by the artist)
8 1/8 x 5 1/2 inches (20,5 x 14,1 cm)
Our drawing was made in 1925, the year the Bauhaus in Weimar was closed. As in the previous year, Feininger spent this summer in Deep, which lies at the mouth of the Rega River in Pomerania on the Baltic Sea. He visited the nearby towns of Cammin, Greifenberg, Kolberg and "Treptow", among others.
Once again, this drawing shows how rich and artistically valuable Feininger's "nature notes" are. As a kind of affair of the artist's heart, they have fundamental significance for his oeuvre.
Über Lyonel Feininger
Born: 1871 in New York
Died: 1956 in New York
Lyonel Feininger was born in New York on 17 July 1871, the son of a concert violinist and a singer and pianist. In 1887, at the age of 16, he accompanied his parents on a concert tour to Europe. With his parents' permission, the young Feininger first attended drawing and painting classes at the Gewerbeschule in Hamburg. A year later he passed the entrance examination to the Königliche Kunst-Akademie in Berlin, where he studied from 1888 to 1892. In Berlin Feininger began working for newspapers and publishers early on, and the demand for his illustrations and caricatures was enormous. From 1905 onwards, Feininger increasingly devoted himself to printmaking methods, although the majority of his outstanding woodcuts were only produced between 1918-20, for which he is still celebrated today as the most important woodcutter of the 20th century. In 1907 he made his first attempts at oil painting, which initially still had a distinctly Impressionist-Naturalist tinge. Feininger's path from sought-after caricaturist to artist was a constant experimentation with a wide variety of techniques and artistic means of expression and was only to be steered in a groundbreaking direction for him by a Cubist experience in Paris in 1911: Impressions of nature had to be "inwardly transformed and crystallised [!]", he stated in a letter to his second wife Julia as early as 1907 - an attitude that would later lead to geometrically reduced imagery. And it ushered in a decisive artistic chapter for which the artist is still admired today: to make the world crystalline. In 1917, his first solo exhibition took place in the Berlin gallery "Der Sturm", and two years later he was one of the first masters Walter Gropius appointed to the Bauhaus in 1919. In the same year, as a master for the graphic workshop, Feininger produced his famous title woodcut "Cathedral" for the "Bauhaus Manifesto". From 1926 to 1933, Feininger lived in Dessau. After the Bauhaus relocation, he was still a master craftsman, but without teaching duties. In 1926 he forms the group "The Blue Four" with Klee, Kandinsky and Jawlensky. In 1929-31 he produced the iconic Halle pictures. In 1937 Feininger leaves Germany and returns to the country of his birth. About 400 of his works are confiscated by the National Socialists as "degenerate". In 1947 Feininger became president of the Federation of American Painters and Sculptors. Lyonel Feininger died in New York City on 13 January 1956.