“The young man is divine. In his promise lies my joy, as for me, I am a sorrowful being; only what I struggle for suffices in my work,” wrote Lyonel Feininger to art historian Alois J. Schardt in 1930 about his then 20 year old son, T. Lux Feininger. Though unique in his practice, the younger and arguably lesser known Feininger’s admiration for his father’s practice is palpable in Moeller Fine Art’s first ever showing of the pair’s work side by side.
The exhibition features 60 of Lyonel Feininger’s woodcuts, 20 watercolors and drawings, and an extremely rare set of models the artist made of locomotives for Munich toymaker Otto Löwenstein, a toy series that was abandoned before full production at the onset of the First World War. T. Lux’s 15 paintings on view pick up the interest in the sea and sea-faring vessels that he shared with his father.
Dealer Achim Moeller wrote to ARTINFO about the exhibition and making painting the family business.
You’ve shown Lyonel Feininger in conversation with other artists in the past, but what made you decide to present him along his son this time around?
Lyonel Feininger encouraged T. Lux to become a painter in the late 1920s when he recognized the enormous talent of his son. T. Lux Feininger himself had a particular close friendship with his father combined with huge admiration. There are certain influences from father to son in terms of subject matter e.g. Marine pictures and tall figures. T. Lux Feininger became after many years expert of his father’s work and wrote about it extensively. It so happened that the gallery in New York owns approximately 20 paintings, which gave us a good opportunity to organize this exhibition.
Was there any linking intentionality in showing mostly drawings and woodcuts by Lyonel and paintings by T. Lux?
The works by Lyonel Feininger as well as the works by T .Lux Feininger that are in the exhibition are all characteristic for each artist’s work. It is up to the viewer to decide where the connection may be.
Do you think there was any resentment of the shadow created by Lyonel’s fame?
T. Lux had to suffer to some extent. However there was no resentment from son to father.
What was the impetus for including more peripheral areas of Lyonel’s artistic production: the small figurines he made for his children and the model trains?
Lyonel Feininger carved and painted wooden figures and houses and so did his son T. Lux. To give an overall impression of the father’s work it was extremely helpful to have these figures, houses and trains available.
The show also has more subtle traces the First and Second World War’s effect on Lyonel’s and T. Lux’s respective practices. How or do you see that affect manifested?
Whereas Lyonel Feininger was apolitical, the First World War had to some extent an impact on his work. This is visible not so much in the subject matter than in the often dark tones of his cubistic and architectural works of the time.
[Image: „Father and Son: Lyonel and T. Lux Feininger“, Moeller Fine Art Berlin, Photo: Hans-Georg Gaul, Courtesy Moeller Fine Art]