Lot 1
  • 1

Lyonel Feininger

220,000 - 320,000 GBP
665,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Lyonel Feininger
  • Horn Player in the Village
  • signed Feininger (lower left) and dated Donnerstag d. 1. April. 1915 (lower right)
  • watercolour and pen and ink on paper


Estate of John D. Schiff, USA

Davis & Langdale Company, New York

The Regis Collection, Minneapolis

Lafayette Parke Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1987


New York, Lafayette Parke Gallery, Color and Expression: Paintings & Watercolors, 1987, no. 11, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Combining the vivid colouration and fantastic figures that characterise the artist’s early work, Horn Player in the Village exemplifies Feininger’s unique artistic vision. Having spent the first fifteen years of his career as successful illustrator for periodicals in Berlin and Paris, Feininger only turned his attention to painting in 1907. His experience as a graphic artist had a profound influence on his style leading to the flattened perspective and silhouetted shapes that pervade his works. In his monograph on the artist, Hans Hess discussed Feininger's works from this period: ‘Feininger's use of color is as direct as that of the Fauve painters, but his choice of colours is subtle and strange. The colour disharmonies are softer and the mood created more dreamlike. A mauvish pink predominates, countered by strong blues and greens. The colors live by the subtle violence of their disharmonies. In his pictures of this period the human figure plays a dominant part, but neither the figures nor the settings in which they move pretend to be real. The degree of dreamlike fantasy varies’ (H. Hess, Lyonel Feininger, London, 1961, p. 47).

The setting for the present work is the small village of Taubach which is situated not far outside the city of Weimar in Germany. In 1913 Feininger had spent a number of months in Weimar, travelling in the region and intensively sketching views of the surrounding villages. A series of pencil sketches document the same buildings that form the background of this work, but whereas the sketches remain largely naturalistic, in Horn Player in the Village Feininger transforms the scene through his bold use of colour and inclusion of the distorted, sharply outlined figures that fill the foreground. These characters – particularly the horn player and the larger-than-life man who fills the left of the composition – appear again in a related oil painting of the same year, Trumpeter in the Village (fig. 1). In both works the lively characterisation of his figures add to the spirited energy of the composition making them wonderful examples of Feininger’s indomitable style.