- Lyonel Feininger
- Dunes, Hazy Evening
- Signed Feininger (upper left); signed Lyonel Feininger, titled "DUNES, Hazy Evening." and dated 1944, (on the stretcher)
- Oil on canvas
Acquired at the above sale
Hans Schulz-Vanselow, Lyonel Feininger und Pommern, Kiel, 1999, mentioned p. 301
Roland März, ed., Lyonel Feininger: von Gelmeroda nach Manhattan: Retrospektive der Gemälde (exhibition catalogue), Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin & Haus der Kunst, Munich, 1998-99, mentioned in the footnote p. 306
Feininger, having returned to his native New York immediately prior to the outbreak of World War II impoverished, crestfallen and reeling from his abrupt transplantation took a temporary hiatus from painting. In a letter to his son Feininger explained his dismay: “What I really miss is drawing from nature and making ‘notes,’ for instance by the Baltic Sea, in Deep, or in the villages surrounding Weimar. Somehow the motifs in this place do not suffice; they contain too few of my inner wishes and lead only to naturalistic results” (quoted in B. Haskell, ed., 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, p. 155). When he returned to his artistic production in 1939 Feininger immediately turned to the imagery of sailing, the sea and the sprawling dunes that harken back to his memories of life abroad, while also gleaning inspiration from the beaches along Moriches Bay and the dunes of West Hampton, New York.
The present work, painted in 1944, returns to the coast of the Baltic Sea, recasting earlier compositions and studies completed while there, in the same manner he had always done. The nostalgic nocturnal seascape of Dunes, Hazy Evening, with its fluid orchestrations of color and form, is executed in a style that is a marriage of recognizable imagery and abstraction. Feininger never sought to entirely cut ties with nature in his painting, nor did he pursue total non-objective abstraction. While Germany remained his aesthetic home through regular correspondence with his Bauhaus and Die Brucke colleagues, Feininger was embraced as an American artist in his adopted homeland. In October 1944, the same year Dunes, Hazy Evening was complete, The Museum of Modern Art held the first retrospective of the artist’s work in his native country, affirming Feininger’s status within the realm of twentieth-century modernism.
Additional information for this entry was provided by The Lyonel Feininger Project, New York–Berlin.