Lyonel Feininger

American, active in Germany, 1871-1956

Dunes with Ray of Light, II

© Estate of Lyonel Feininger / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany

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Dunes with Ray of Light, II, 1944

Artwork Details


oil on canvas


support: 20 x 35 1/8 inches (50.8 x 89.2175 cm); framed: 22 3/16 x 37 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches (56.36 x 94.3 x 5.4 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum


Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1944

Accession ID


Born and raised in New York, Lyonel Feininger spent his early career in Germany and went on to become one of the leading practitioners of German Expressionism and a faculty member of the Bauhaus. After the Nazi Party came into power in 1933, the artist and his wife, who was Jewish, moved back to the United States. Feininger is best known for his semi-abstracted, Cubist- and Futurist-inspired images of architecture and the landscape. Later in life, he also became a photographer, and his photographs emulate the contrast of light and dark seen in his paintings. Dunes with Ray of Light, II depicts two small figures in the foreground dwarfed by the luminous landscape. At the time this work was completed, just prior to World War II’s end, Feininger would isolate himself during the day to paint and wander the streets at night taking photographs. Painting provided a means for the artist to reacquaint himself with the landscape in the same way he reconnected with New York through the lens of his camera. About painting, he stated, “Each individual work serves as an expression of our most personal state of mind at that particular moment and of the inescapable, imperative need for release by means of an appropriate act of creation: the rhythm, form, color, and mood of a picture.”

Label from Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape, November 17, 2013–October 5, 2014