MoMA
Lyonel Feininger. Cathedral (Kathedrale) for Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar (Programm des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar). 1919
Lyonel Feininger

Cathedral (Kathedrale) for Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar (Programm des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar)

1919
Not on view
Medium
Woodcut
Dimensions
composition: 12 x 7 1/2" (30.5 x 19 cm); sheet (irreg.): 16 1/8 x 12 3/16" (41 x 31 cm)
Publisher
Staatliches Bauhaus, Weimar
Printer
the artist
Edition
state I: approx. 6-15 proofs [this ex.] before the edition of an unknown number for the "Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar"*; state II: approx. 6-15; plus posthumous edition of 100 (plus 2 printer's proofs) published by Associated American Artists, New York, 1964 (*Note: The large edition for the Program was not actually printed from the original woodblock, but from a line block facsimile)
Credit
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Object number
156.1945
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

This black-and-white woodcut served as a cover design for the Bauhaus manifesto by architect and founder Walter Gropius. The image reflects the aura of medievalism that pervaded the initial phase of the Bauhaus, whose academic system harks back to the training employed by Late Gothic craft guilds. Lyonel Feininger was invited by Gropius in 1919 to head the printmaking workshop, and he retained his connection with the school until it closed, in 1933.

Gallery label from 2006
Additional text

A major figure in German avant-garde art of the early twentieth century, expatriate American painter Lyonel Feininger began his career in Berlin in the 1890s as an illustrator of satirical subjects. He later served as the first artistic director of the printing shop of the Bauhaus, a progressive arts-and-crafts school founded at Weimar in 1919. Of the more than three hundred woodcuts Feininger produced, the one initially titled The Cathedral of Socialism is the most historically significant and widely admired. It served as a cover design for the Bauhaus manifesto by architect Walter Gropius and was meant to symbolize both the unity and the spiritual basis of the various arts under the primacy of architecture.

The fragmented and intersecting planes that convey dynamism in Cathedral first appeared in Feininger's work about 1911, under the influence of Cubism. His drypoint The Gate, depicting tiny figures in a medieval setting animated by exaggerated proportions, includes stark contrasts of light and dark and skewed forms. Feininger's love of Gothic architecture is evident in this town gate, which he depicted in woodcuts and paintings. This print, a high point in Feininger's oeuvre of some sixty-five intaglios from 1906 to 1924, was published after the war in an important series of German print portfolios entitled Die Schaffenden. After Feininger returned to the United States in 1937 to avoid Nazi accusations of being a "degenerate" artist, his printmaking was confined to a small group of lithographs made with noted printer George C. Miller in New York in the 1950s.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 67
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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource