Modernists will agree that anything – or anyone – that had to do with the Bauhaus is commemorable. And so we do this today, with the recent death of Bauhaus painter and photographer T. Lux Feininger.
At age 16, Feininger became a student at the Bauhaus, learning experimental theatre with Oskar Schlemmer and painting with Josef Albers, Paul Klee and Wassily Kadinsky. Interestingly, he was also involved in the Bauhaus jazz band.
As if his school activities did not take all of his time, Feininger dabbled in photography as well. Although the Bauhaus did not have a photographic studio at the time, he began taking photographs with his grandmother’s box camera and his own 9 × 12 cm plate camera.
As a Bauhaus-trained artist, Feininger espoused the New Vision principles through his photo works, capturing daily life at the German fine arts and crafts institution in an innovative way. This was impressive for he was but an enthusiast on the subject. He experimented with photography by utilizing then unpopular techniques such as exaggerated angles, extreme close-ups and cropping.
While at the Bauhaus, Feininger made profit by selling his photographs to newspapers and periodicals through an agent at Berlin photo agency Dephot. His work would later be included in “Film and Foto,” a survey on modern photography in Stuttgart.
In 1929, under the moniker Theodore Lux, he took time to paint, often of maritime scenery, and subsequently exhibit around Germany. He emigrated to the United States afterwards, leaving his photographic negatives to disappear in his native land.
He continued his artistic pursuits in America by teaching at Sarah Lawrence College and the Fogg Museum at Harvard. He also had a stint at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he retired in 1975.
Theodore Lux Feininger was born on June 11, 1910 to painter Lyonel Feininger, one of the first artists appointed to teach at the Bauhaus. He died on July 14th at the age of 101.