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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Andreas Feininger

Names:
Other: Andreas Bernhard Lyonel Feininger 
Dates:  1906, 27 December - 1999, 18 February
Born:  France, Paris
Active:  US
 
  
Abstract Bauhaus photography and later became a staff photographer for LIFE magazine (1942-1962). Brother of photographer T. Lux Feininger

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Andreas Feininger
LIFE photographer Andreas Feininger 
1941, 1 January (check)
 
  
Family history 
  
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“The camera is superior to the eye, and the photograph can, and ideally should, portray the world more graphic than reality itself.”
 
Andreas Feininger combines an architect's love of precision, space, and technique with an artist's love of sweeping vistas. Although an American citizen, Feininger did not come to the United States until he was 33. Son of the late acclaimed artist Lyonel Feininger, he was born in Paris in 1906, and graduated with highest honors in architecture from schools in Germany. At the time, Feininger was using a camera as a reference aid in creating his building designs. The camera became his "mechanical sketchbook."
 
Commissions were scarce for non-European citizens in the depressed economy. After a year's work in France for the legendary architect Le Corbusier, followed by a struggle to find employment in Stockholm, Feininger turned his attention full-time to photography. He sold his first photos in 1932, moved with his family to the United States in 1939, and in 1943 became a staff photographer for LIFE magazine where he completed more than 430 assignments in a twenty year span.
 
Full of towering skyscrapers, broad swaths of road, and angles of geometric perfection, Feininger's works are masterful in their technical excellence and panoramic grandeur. Through Feininger's trained eye, the beauty and intricacies of both the natural and man-made world were magnified and intensified. From the broad span of bridges, exuding progress and power, to the symmetrical perfection of the skeleton of a carbon viper, Feininger's images revealed a new aesthetic of order and geometric perfection. Even a seemingly utilitarian object like a doctor's head mirror possesses mesmerizing, symbolic qualities when seen through Feininger's lens. Feininger had said that the city had attracted him since his earliest days as a photographer. But in time this love grew to include all the aspects of the city…its buildings, its people, its cars and traffic jams, its confusion and even its ugliness. "I see the city as a living organism: dynamic, sometimes violent, and even brutal," he stated.
 
Also a prolific and admired writer, Feininger has published several textbooks and picture books on photography that are now translated into several languages. Feininger's photographs are in many important collections including: The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Victorian and Albert Museum of Art, London; The Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany; the Museum of the City of Hew York, The New York Historical Society, and The International Center of Photography, New York City.
 
[Contributed by the Alan Klotz Gallery, October 2007] 
  
 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
 

Internet resources

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Andreas Feininger 
http://www.geh.org ... 
  
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.155 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
  
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.191 
  
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
  
• Fernandez, Horacio (ed.) 2000 Fotografía Pública: Photography in Print 1919-1939 (Aldeasa) p.100 [This Spanish exhibition catalogue is one of the best sources for illustrations of photomontage and book design for the period between the two World Wars.] 
  
• International Center of Photography 1999 Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection (New York: A Bulfinch Press Book) p.215 [Includes a well written short biography on Andreas Feininger with example plate(s) earlier in book.] 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Andreas Feininger.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.141-142 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"Any good photograph is a successful synthesis of technique and art."
"No one can do inspired work without genuine interest in his subject and understanding of its characteristics."
"The photographer has almost as much control over his subject matter as a painter. He can control light and shade, form and space, pattern and texture, motion and mood, everything except composition."
 
  
 
  
 
  
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