Artwork Detail

Brücke I (Bridge I)
American, 1871–1956
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 39 1/2 "
University purchase, Bixby Fund, 1950
WU 3822
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Born in the United States, Lyonel Feininger spent most of his life in Germany. He was a member of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, whose works demonstrate a commitment to spirituality and subjective expression. Brücke I is the first in a series of six works depicting a stone bridge over the Ilm River in the city of Weimar. Feininger employed the faceted planes of Cubism to explore correspondences between the architecture of the bridge, the simple geometry of the houses beyond, and organic forms of nature. The overlapping planes of translucent color play across the canvas in a series of repeating arches and curving forms, imparting a feeling of energy and rhythm as well as a sense of order and harmony. The work originally belonged to a German public museum, the Kestner Museum in Hannover, until it was seized by the Nazi government in 1937 as part of the "degenerate art" action. [Permanent collection label, 2019. Revised 2023]