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Feininger, Lyonel

Lyonel Charles Feininger (July 17, 1871January 13, 1956) was a German-American painter, and a leading exponent of Expressionism. He also worked as a caricaturist and comic strip artist. He was born and grew up in New York City, traveling to Germany at 16 to study and perfect his art. He started his career as a cartoonist in 1894 and met with much success in this area. He was also a commercial caricaturist for 20 years for magazines and newspapers in the USA and Germany. At the age of 36, he started to work as a fine artist. He also produced a large body of photographic works between 1928 and the mid 1950s, but he kept these primarily within his circle of friends. He was also a pianist and composer, with several piano compositions and fugues for organ extant 1).

Feininger's career as cartoonist started in 1894. He was working for several German, French and American magazines. In February 1906, when a quarter of Chicago's population was of German descent, James Keeley, editor of The Chicago Tribune traveled to Germany to procure the services of the most popular humor artists. He recruited Feininger to illustrate two comic strips “The Kin-der-Kids” and “Wee Willie Winkie's World” for the Chicago Tribune. The strips were noted for their fey humor and graphic experimentation. He also worked as a commercial caricaturist for 20 years for various newspapers and magazines in both the USA and Germany. Later, Art Spiegelman wrote in The New York Times Book Review, that Feininger's comics have “achieved a breathtaking formal grace unsurpassed in the history of the medium.” 2)