Lot 21
  • 21

Lyonel Feininger

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Lyonel Feininger
  • Raddampfer am Landungssteg (Side-Wheel Steamer at the Landing)
  • Signed Feininger (upper left); signed Feininger and dated 1912 (on the reverse) 
  • Oil on canvas
  • 15 7/8 by 19 1/8 in.
  • 40.3 by 48.5 cm


Hugo Simon, Berlin & Paris

Kunsthandel Jacques Goudstikker NV, Amsterdam (on consignment from the above, by October 1933 and until at least December 1940)

Re-purchased by Kunsthandel Jacques Goudstikker NV from the administrators of the Aryanised dealership of Kunshandel voorheen J. Goudstikker NV, 9th June 1949 (and sold: Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 4th October 1949, lot 216)

Mrs Meta Legat (née Ehrlich), Dreibergen & New York (acquired at the above sale for NGL 200)

Fritz Katz, New York (acquired from the above in 1972, thence by descent and sold in cooperation with the heirs of Hugo Simon: Sotheby’s, London, February 8, 2011, lot 3))

Acquired at the above sale


Amsterdam, Kunsthandel Jacques Goudstikker NV, Tentoonstelling van Moderne Kunst, 1933, n. 12 illustrated in the catalogue (titled Wal met schepen)   

New Orleans Museum of Art, German & Austrian Expressionism, 1975-76, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Side Steamer at the Landing)

Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Art in a Turbulent Era, 1978, illustrated in the catalogue


Hans Hess, Lyonel Feininger, London, 1961, no. 95, illustrated p. 256

Robert Hughes, "Art: The Anguish of the Northerners" in Time, New York, March 27, 1978, illustrated

Lyonel Feininger: Erlebnis und Vision die Reisen an die Ostsee, 1892-1935 (exhibition catalogue), Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg & Kunsthalle Bremen, 1992, illustrated p. 193

Lyonel Feininger, At the Edge of the World (exhibition catalogue), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York & The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 2011, no. 61, illustrated in color p. 56

Catalogue Note

Between 1908 and 1913, Lyonel Feininger visited Heringsdorf every summer, making excursions along the Pomeranian coastline. This maritime province of beaches, fishing ports and old Hanseatic villages provided Feininger with a rich vein of subject-matter. His sketchbooks are filled with studies of sailing boats and imaginary galleons plying the inland seas, and also capture the distinctive atmospheric effects of the Baltic shores. In the present painting, Feininger depicts a contemporary scene that would have been instantly recognizable to the fashionable crowds from Berlin that gathered in Heringsdorf each summer. It shows the paddle steamer Freia pulling astern of the famous Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brucke, one of the largest and most elaborate piers in continental Europe at that time, with sailing boats on the horizon and in the foreground. Feininger returned to this subject in 1917 with his oil painting Odin I. Leviathan, depicting another of the Stettin-registered steamships that catered to the strong seasonal demand for coastal excursions along the Baltic.

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).