Feininger, the son of Bauhaus teacher and painter Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956),
studied cabinet making at the Bauhaus under Walter Gropius, and studied architecture
at the Bauschule in Weimar and the Staatliche Bauschule in Zerbst, where he
graduated summa cum laude. He practiced architecture in Dessau and Hamburg,
(1928-1931), and then worked for a year in Paris as an assistant architect to Le
Corbusier. Feininger left Paris for Stockholm in 1933 where he worked as an architect
and later as a photographer. Feininger is self taught in photography.
Feininger moved to New York in 1939 and began work as a photojournalist with the
Black Star agency (1940-1941). He worked briefly as a photographer for the U.S.
Office of War Information (1941-1942) before becoming a staff photographer for LIFE
magazine, where he worked from 1943 to 1962. After retiring from LIFE, Feininger
continued work as a free-lance photographer until 1990.
Feininger has published over 50 photographic and technical books. These include:
Stockholm, 1936; New York, 1945; The World Through My Eyes, 1963; Feininger on
Photography, 1949; Successful Photography, 1954; The Complete Photographer,
1965; and The Perfect Photograph, 1974. Retrospective exhibitions of Feininger's work
have been assembled by The Smithsonian Institution, 1963 and The International
Center of Photography, New York, 1976. The most recent retrospective monograph,
Andreas Feininger: Photographer, was published in 1986.
In 1977 and 1978 Feininger placed a group of over 660 photographs at the Museum on
extended loan, which he converted to a gift in 1993. Sixteen other Feininger
photographs came to the Eastman House in various transactions between 1970 and
1978. This collection was catalogued in 1994 with Feininger's assistance.
The collection covers most of Feininger's career, with works dating from 1928 through
1977. Early photographs of Germany, straight and manipulated images using a variety
of techniques (1928-1932) are represented by 49 prints; photographs of Sweden, some
employing Feininger's super telephoto lens, and other experimental uses of
photographic processes (1933-1939) are represented by 75 photographs; a group of
320 photographs taken for LIFE Magazine (1944-1961), and 27 scientific studies of
various subjects (1964-1977), are also held. The largest group of photographs (350)
are of street scenes, architecture, etc. made in New York between 1940 and 1972.
Photographs of Chicago dated 1948, 1950, and 1961, taken for LIFE magazine (14
prints) are also included.
Del Zogg, 3/95
Selected Feininger Photographs of New York City, 1940-41