Raddampfer am Landungssteg exemplifies Feininger's perspectival inventiveness which began to change radically in 1909. He began creating works utilizing a new form of perspective that he called an “absolutely personal perspective’ in which he depicted objects and figures from multiple vantage points as if he were observing them from different distances in space” (Lyonel Feininger, At the Edge of the World, op. cit., p. 26). During the summer of 1912 Feininger refined his artistic style and this perspectival device further, creating innovative pictorial representations of the natural world. Feininger's new approach referenced the aesthetic of French Cubism, which had taken hold of the avant-garde across Europe, but applied his reshuffling of space to grander subjects in an attempt to synthesize the rhythms, forms, perspectives and colors of his surrounding environment.
Boats and trains fascinated Feininger even in childhood. According to Barbara Haskell, some of Feininger’s most treasured childhood memories “were associated with modernity. He would spend hours on the footbridge overlooking the tracks of the New York Central Railroad as trains entered Grand Central Station or sit entranced on the shores of the Hudson and East Rivers, observing the steamboats and sailing ships, standing side-by-side for hundreds of yards. By the time Feininger was five he could draw them from memory. He and his best childhood friend, Frank Kortheuer, spent much of their free time together drawing pictures of trains and masted ships for their fantasy kingdoms, Colonora and Columbia, and making models of locomotives and yachts, which they sailed on the pond in Central Park” (ibid, p. 3).
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