Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM KELLY SIMPSON
Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

Alt-Sallenthin (Dorfstrasse in Alt-Sallenthin I)

Details
Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)
Alt-Sallenthin (Dorfstrasse in Alt-Sallenthin I)
signed 'Feininger' (lower right); titled 'ALT-SALLENTHIN' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
15 7/8 x 19 1/8 in. (40.3 x 48.6 cm.)
Painted in 1912
Provenance
Galerie J.B. Neumann, Berlin (1919).
Hugo Simon, Berlin.
Wolf Demeter, Berlin (by descent from the above).
Mme Louis Mercanton, France (acquired from the above, 1940).
Private collection, France.
E.V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the late owner, January 1986.
Literature
H. Hess, Lyonel Feininger, New York, 1961, p. 256, no. 89.
U. Luckhardt, "Lyonel Feininger: Die Grundlagen der Zeichnung—die Zeichnung also Grundlage," Lyonel Feininger, Die Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, exh. cat., Hamburger Kunsthalle, 1998, p. 15.
H. Schulz-Vanselow, Lyonel Feininger und Pommern, Kiel, 1999, p. 346, no. 39 (illustrated, p. 96).
A. Breloh, “Das ‘verheissungsvollste Geschenk': Feiningers Teilnahme am 'Ersten Deutschen Herbstsalon' und die Folgen," Lyonel Feininger: Frühe Werke und Freunde, exh. cat., Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, 2006, pp. 112-119.
Exhibited
Berlin, Galerie Der Sturm, Fünfundfündfzigste Ausstellung, Lyonel Feininger, Gemälde und Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, September 1917, no. 40.
Munich, Neue Kunst Hans Goltz, 48. Ausstellung, Lyonel Feininger, October 1918, no. 3.
Hagen, Folkwang-Museum, Lyonel Feininger, June 1919, no. 10350.
Berlin, Graphisches Kabinett J.B. Neumann, Lyonel Feininger, June 1919.
Lugano, Museo cantonale d'arte, Lyonel Feininger, la variante tematica e tecnica nello sviluppo del processo creativo, September-November 1991, no. 90 (illustrated in color).
Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg and Kunsthalle Bremen, Lyonel Feininger: Erlebnis und Vision, die Reisen an die Ostsee, 1892-1935, June-October 1992, p. 242, no. 90 (illustrated in color, p. 95).
Roslyn Harbor, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art, Master Artworks from Private Collections, August-November 2005.

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Lot Essay

Achim Moeller, Managing Principal of The Lyonel Feininger Project LLC, New York – Berlin has confirmed the authenticity of this work, which is registered under no. 1442-09-20-17. The work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Lyonel Feininger, compiled by Achim Moeller, under no. 97.
Additional information for this entry was provided by The Lyonel Feininger Project, New York – Berlin.
The present work is being offered for sale pursuant to an agreement between the consignor and the heirs of Hugo Simon and Wolf Demeter. This resolves any dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the buyer.
Painted in 1912, the present work depicts the village of Alt-Sallenthin on the Baltic island of Usedom, where Feininger and his family spent many summers from 1909 onwards. Alt-Sallenthin is an exceptionally early painting in which the influence of Cubism can clearly be distinguished. Here, a geometric faceting of forms take precedence over the flat silhouettes that define the artist's earlier stylistic approach.
Born in New York in 1871 to German immigrant parents, Feininger returned to Germany at the age of 16 to study music. Although music maintained a vital role in his life, his passion was for the visual arts and after his arrival in Germany, his parents, both musicians, permitted him to pursue drawing. He studied at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Hamburg, followed by the Königliche Akademie in Berlin and achieved his first commercial success in 1890, when he published some of his satirical drawings with the Berlin based comic magazine Humoristische Blätter.
Feininger was first introduced to early forms of Cubism, a movement which would have a profound impact on his oeuvre, during a three-week trip to Paris in 1911. He had sent six paintings to be included in the Salon des Indépendants, an exhibition that came to be dominated by the analytic cubism of every prominent cubist artist except Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who couldn’t partake due to their arrangements with their dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. The Cubist paintings that Feininger encountered at the Salon came as a revelation. In a letter to his friend, the painter and art critic Alfred Vance Churchill, Feininger wrote, “in that Spring I had gone to Paris and found the world agog with Cubism–a thing I had never even heard mentioned before, but which I had already, entirely intuitively, striven after for years” (letter dated 13 March 1913; quoted in H. Hess, op. cit., p.52).
It was not until 1912 that Feininger began to integrate Cubist elements into his compositions and a preparatory drawing for the present work is dated to the 5th of August of that year (fig. 1). Barbara Haskell has written, “The approach resembled that of the Cubists, particularly Delaunay, whose Eiffel Tower had been declared by the French critic Guillaume Apollinaire the most important entry in the 1911 Salon des Indépendants. Feininger’s work differed from Delaunay in rejecting fragmentation and simultaneity in favor of monumentality. In Eiffel Tower, Delaunay employed the shifting viewpoints of Cubism and the disruptive properties of light to create a shimmering, prismatic world in which everything seemed to be vibrating. Although Feininger likewise exploited gradations of color to enhance volume and gave equal weight to figure and ground, he never relinquished his loyalty to the material aspects of reality. Rather than splintering forms into geometric crystals whose broken contours blurred the demarcation between figures and their surrounding space, as Delaunay had done, Feininger reduced his images to flat, geometric shapes whose contours remained closed” (Lyonel Feininger, At the Edge of the World, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2011, p. 48).
Ultimately, one should view Feininger’s work as independent of any artistic movement, for his visual vocabulary is as much about an exploration of the realm of his personal fantasy and a search for the synthesis of reality and imagination, as it is a pursuit of an aesthetic philosophy. Feininger highlighted the technical difference between the two, stating, “Cubism is a synthesis, but may easily be degraded into mechanism…My ‘cubism’…is visionary, not physical” (quoted in P. Selz, Lyonel Feininger, exh. cat., Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., New York, 1969, p. 7).

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