Eurythmy, or Jump Over the Bauhaus

T. Lux Feininger American, born Germany

Not on view

Lux Feininger, born Theodore Lucas, was the third son of the American painter Lyonel Feininger, a master instructor at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin. Raised in the fertile environment of the renowned art school established by Walter Gropius to integrate art and technology, the young Feininger began his studies in the theater workshop at age sixteen; other interests included jazz, painting, and photography. He was given the nickname Lux ("light") because he carried a camera at all times, a simple box camera for glass negatives coveted by fellow students who believed that it was responsible for his spontaneous, energetic photographs. But of course it was the young artist's personal vision, shaped by the utopian ideals and communal life of the Bauhaus, that created his buoyant expressions of student life.
The image seen here exemplifies this sense of unrestrained playfulness--as do its two alternative titles--although the chaotic cutting loose that is pictured can hardly be described as eurythmy, body movement characterized by proportional balance and rhythmic harmony. Feininger placed the wildly leaping youths in the foreground and chose a low vantage point, which so greatly diminishes the scale of Gropius's International Style buildings that they become easily surmounted hurdles, perhaps suggesting that it is youthful energy rather than the school's theoretical principles that will ultimately transform modern art and society.

Eurythmy, or Jump Over the Bauhaus, T. Lux Feininger (American (born Germany), Berlin 1910–2011 Cambridge, Massachusetts), Gelatin silver print

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