Friday, October 14, 2011

Lyonel Feininger at the Whitney

It’s a cloudy and humid Friday—my day off! After a morning ballet class and lunch, I took myself out on a trip to the Whitney to see the Lyonel Feininger exhibit, since my illustration teacher told me it was a must-see. It’s always nice to be able to see a comprehensive collection of a single artist in one show—the experience feels more intimate and full of depth.

Feininger was a German-American painter and cartoonist who lived through both World Wars. I loved the turn-of-the-century town scenes that seemed to be a recurrent subject in his work—these cute houses and churches with pointy roofs take me straight back to my favorite European storybooks I read as a kid. The quality of his lines and his color choices create this whimsical yet haunting effect.

It was not too crowded, so I was able to do some thumbnail sketches. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the Wee Willie Winkies World comic strip, which is more than a century old. It was the same image that have appeared in my dreams many times: the little girl with a big rimmed hat with a ribbon overlooking the town from a hill. I am sure the concept has been reproduced countlessly, but still, it was one strange déjàvu.

While I was there I also checked out the Real/Surreal exhibit, which was also fun. The highlight for me was George Tooker’s The Subway, which I remembered from my Pop and Surrealism class last summer. In the past year, inspired by my teachers and fellow artists, I slowly started to catch up on my art history by trying to go to galleries and museums more often, and I have to say, I am really enjoying it. Each trip is full of discovery, and it’s as if a whole new world has opened up to me. 


  1. Hi, Rieko! Look very interesting! This is the last exhibition I visited, last september:

    I agree with you, I have to go more often to galeries and museums, yay!

  2. ALMU!! Thank you for the link, the “virtual visit” feature on the website is amazing. (Although it probably doesn’t even compare to being there in person!) My personal favorite was Ávila Roses, the oil painting of white roses on a white background.

    Yes finally in my thirties I am learning to love gallery and museum visits, and it’s awesome. Yay!

  3. ... I never go to galleries & museums... (those are meant to be small, small letters!) I have good excuses - not much going on locally, and having a little boy around makes you less mobile... Still - I'd love to do more of that!

    Are you doing courses or are you back in Art School? All the things you're doing sound & look amazing! living sort of vicariously, here... ;)

  4. Yvonne, those are more than good enough excuses! If you ever happen to come by New York City, let me know :-)

    I'm just taking evening classes, but actually I am contemplating eventually going back to school for art. So right now, I am building my portfolio and saving up money :-)