Lyonel Feininger was an American-German artist and member of the German Expressionist movement. Feininger work is often cited as combination of Cubism’s angular shapes with Expressionism’s emotionally charged paint handling. Born Léonell Charles Feininger on July 17, 1871 in New York, NY, the artist traveled to Germany to study music initially, but once there turned his attention towards visual art. He studied at the Hamburger Gewerbeschule and the Königliche Akademie der Künste in Berlin where he was taught by Ernst Hancke. Feininger went on to exhibit extensively with both Wassily Kandinsky’s Der Blaue Reiter group and the Berlin Secession. In 1919, the same year he made his famed work The Cathedral he accepted the invitation to teach at the Bauhaus school. Also a celebrated illustrator of comics, Feininger’s graphic work was published in a variety of publications before he decided to exclusively pursued fine arts.
Feininger taught at Mills College in 1936 and 1937 as part of the Summer Sessions. He was also the father of the photographer Andreas Feininger, whose celebrated black-and-white images documented the American landscape.