Lyonel Feininger was born on July 17, 1871, as the son of a concert violinist and pianist from Germany. In 1887 Feininger followed his parents to Europe, where he attended the drawing and painting class at the "Gewerbeschule" in Hamburg and later studied at the "Königliche Kunst-Akademie" in Berlin from 1888 to 1892. For one year he subsequently attended the private art school of the Italian Sculptor Filippo Colarossi in Paris.
In 1893 Feininger returned to Berlin, where he worked as an illustrator until 1906. For the next two years Feininger stayed in Paris where he was in contact with he Cafe du Dome circle of German students of Matisse. In 1909 Feininger joined the "Berliner Sezession, in whose exhibitions he would participate in a year later. For the occasion of his exhibition at the Salon des Independants, the artist traveled to Paris, where he made contact with Cubism. It was here that Feininger produced his first architectural compositions with his typical Cubist fragmentations. In 1913, upon invitation by Franz Marc, Feininger participated in "Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon" at Herwarth Walden's "Strum" gallery in Berlin, where he also held his first solo exhibition in 1917.
In 1919 Walter Gropius invited Feininger to the Bauhaus, where he taught graphic art and painting until 1926. Together with Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky, he founded the group "Die Blauen Vier." Feininger moved to New York in 1937, and that same year more than 400 of his works were confiscated by the Nazis in Germany. Feininger had to wait for his breakthrough as an artist in the US until 1944 when he had a successful retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Feiningers classes, texts and watercolors set a trend for the development of Abstract Expressionist painting in the US.