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Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World (Whitney Museum of American Art) [Hardcover]

Barbara Haskell

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Book Description

3 Jun 2011 Whitney Museum of American Art
Recognized for his remarkable synthesis of Expressionist and Cubist techniques, Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) has long been considered a leading modern artist in Germany. In his native United States, he is less well known. This comprehensive survey, which examines the artist's broad-ranging interests and influences including his involvement in German Expressionism and the Bauhaus, will reintroduce his art to American audiences. Generously illustrated, this publication features works from throughout Feininger's diverse career, including his turn-of-the-century satirical illustrations and comics, his carnivalesque Expressionist compositions and crystalline architectural scenes, his whimsical village of hand-carved wooden figures, and his late oils of New York City. The main essay discusses the full breadth of Feininger's career, tracing his relationship with groups and institutions that defined the development of modern art, including Cubism, the Blaue Reiter, the Blue Four, the Bauhaus, and Black Mountain College. Additional essays focus on facets of Feininger's work including his comics, his photographs, his musical compositions and their relationship to his visual art, and his reputation in Germany.

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About the Author

Barbara Haskell is curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. John Carlin is an independent writer and curator, as well as the president and CEO of Funny Garbage. Bryan Gilliam is Frances Hill Fox Professor in Humanities at Duke University. Ulrich Luckhardt is curator at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany. Sasha Nicholas is senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American in Germany 3 July 2011
By Christian Schlect - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A nicely done overview of the varied artistic career of Lyonel Feininger, who was born an American but lived most of his life in Germany. Barbara Haskell deserves praise for the straight-forward core biographical essay in this book, with interesting additional essays on the artist's early work as a cartoonist, his interactions with classical music, and his use of photography. Of these, I especially liked John Carlin's thoughts on Feininger's comic-strip career.

As with all books of this type, the selection and quality of reproductions of important works of art by the subject artist are central to the success of the effort; here, there is no disappointment.

Those interested in twentieth century German history will also benefit from reading this material, especially as related to Hitler's treatment of "degenerate art."
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally... 31 July 2011
By Virginia Trembles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cogent catalogue of the current Whitney retro. Long neglected here in the US, this book helps to lay Feininger out fully. Good bio, clarity on the artistic development and even a section on his pivotal work with the funny papers. Contrary to Roberta Smith's review in the NYTimes on Feininger's "Death by Cubism" the catalogue gives a balanced, BEAUTIFULLY illustrated report on a much underated, underseen artist.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight 4 Aug 2011
By Reich Claude - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful artbook, replete with high-quality illustrations and interesting essays on an artist whom some may consider as a lightweight when compared to giants such as Klee or Kandinsky, but who nevertheless deserved such a reappraisal.

In several enlightening essays, the authors consider Feininger's link to music (all the stronger as both his parents were professional musicians), his versatility (as well as a full-fledged painter, he was also an accomplished photographer and a professional illustrator) and the influence of his dual cultural background (born in the U.S., he lived for several decades in Germany).

Now, in spite of all those assets, this catalog for the current Whitney Museum exhibition does not completely succeed in hoisting Lyonel Feininger to the same level as his great contemporaries (Beckmann, Klee, Kandinsky, Grosz...) and one is left with the impression that he remained all throughout his career, more an illustrator or a decorative artist than a real art-history heavyweight.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great illustrations, excellent essays. 7 July 2013
By Professor Ochs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lyonel Feininger is one the most unfairly ignored great artists of the twentieth century. This wonderful volume, excellently put together by Barbara Haskell, remedies this situation with great success.
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