Andreas Feininger
  • Introduction

  • Bio

  • Exhibitions

  • Publications

  • Links

Born in Paris in 1906, raised in Berlin, and educated in Bauhaus architecture in Weimar and Dessau, Andreas Feininger, the oldest son of the famous painter Lionel Feininger, settled in New York in 1939, where he remained for the rest of his life. New York, with its skyscrapers, powerful wharfs, and enormous ocean liners, the never ending boulevards, elevated trains, and deep urban canyons, which offered the perfect backdrop for his photographic and experimental disposition. Andreas Feininger was less of a feisty photo reporter with a quick little camera than he was a highly accomplished perfectionist with a heavy view camera, five-legged tripod, and long exposures. As an ingenious tinkerer in his younger years, he not only developed a swiveling enlarger made out of wood, but also built an enormous telephoto lens out of boxes and a 28-inch lens from a flea market. The long focal length allowed him to capture even the tallest buildings in New York, such as the Empire State Building, with an undistorted perspective and a balanced size-ratio. “In order to see as the camera sees, a photographer must silence all of his senses,” he once said, emphasizing what he finds important in photography. What determines an image, more than the fleeting atmosphere present while shooting the photograph, is the emotion that comes from the image itself. This determines the degree of perfection and essence that makes a successful image immortal. Feininger looked at photography almost scientifically, yet without allowing his pictures to become boring. Quite the contrary, not only his formally perfect prints, but especially his publications and creative handbooks enjoyed great popularity. What he learned in his daily use of a camera for the legendary New York-based magazine “Life,” he excitedly and inspiringly passed on to inquisitive youth. A star portraitist such as Peter Lindbergh once said that his interest in photography began with Feininger’s book “Creative Photographer.” For Feininger, the language of photography was the only language that could be understood around the world – and his images of New York continue to win the world over until today. Although long considered classics, they still feel freshly captured from a specific time in the city’s past. Like a time machine, they catapult the viewer back to decades long gone. In view of the beauty of their perfect form, one wishes time had stood still. His images, his photographic inventions, his useful books, and his reflections on photography reveal Andreas Feininger to have been a modern genius.

Stephan Reisner
1906 Born in Paris, France

1922-25 Carpentry studies, taught by Walter Gropius, Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany

1925-28 Architectural studies, Bauhaus University, Weimar/ Zerbst, Germany

1939 Moving to New York, USA

1943-1962 Editing photographer for Life Magazine, New York, USA

February 1999 died at the age of 92 in Paris, France

Collections (Selection)

Eastman House Museum of Photography & Film, Rochester, New York, USA

Andreas Feininger at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

U.S. Library of Congress, Washington D.C., USA

Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, USA

Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, USA

Museum of the City of New York, USA

Neue Galerie Museum for German and Austrian Art, New York City, USA

Exhibitions (Selection)

2007 Andreas Feininger, Stockholm 1933-39, Scandinavia House, New York, USA

2006 20/30 Vision, An Anniversary Celebration, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, USA

2006 57 on 57th Street; Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, USA

2005 André Raffray, Brooklyn Bridge, Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York, USA

2005 Cityscapes, Gallery Hoffman, Munich, Germany

2004 Visions of America, Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American
Art; University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

2003 Photographs We Know, Iconic Images, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA

2002 Visions of America, Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art; Whitney Museum of Art, New York, USA

2001 Bright Lights, Big City, Winston Wachter Mayer Fine Art, New York, USA

1999 Bright Lights, Big City, Winston Wachter Fine Art, Seattle, Washington, USA

1998 Urban Structure and Form, SoHo Triad Fine Arts New York, USA

1997 Early Experimental Work, Bonni Benrubi New York, USA

1995 Andreas Feininger, In His 89th Year; Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, USA

1995 Let’s Go To The Movies, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, USA

1994 New York in the Forties, New York Historical Society, New York, USA

1978 Andreas Feininger, A Retrospective, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

1976 The American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

1972 The Oakland Museum, Kalifornien, USA

1970 The Heckscher Museum, Huntington, New York, USA

1968 Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

1967 Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

1965 Landesbildstelle, Hamburg, Germany

1963 Carl Siembab Gallery, Boston, USA

1961 The Anatomy of Nature, The American Museum of National History, New York, USA

Books/Catalogs (Selection)

Andreas Feininger, New York in the Forties, Weingarten GmbH, Germany, 2004

Andreas Feininger, Photographs 1928-1988, Thomas Buchsteiner und Otto Letze, Tübingen, Germany, 2004

Andreas Feininger, Thats Photography, Hantje Cantz, Ostfildern, Germany, 2004

Andreas Feininger, The Creative Photographer, 1955

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