Thursday, December 23, 2010

"The Art of -" Another Example...

The only serious artist I know of to gain fame by way of a comic strip he created was Lyonel Feininger, who was born, I believe, in New York, of immigrant parents, but who went to Germany for his training.
Feininger was a brilliant caricaturist, let alone a rather singular painter. His interest in the art of caricature in his work led him to create a comic strip called "the Kinder-Kids," and was first published in the Chicago Tribune in 1906, but lasted only a short period, as he simply could not keep up with production demands.
Fascinating indeed is that this comic-strip artist, while in Germany, was an intrinsic part of the founding aspect of the renowned Bauhaus, which was a unique school combining art and design techniques. The Bauhaus gained great notoriety for its defining philosophies and attracted many gifted artists from all over Europe. The founder of the Bauhaus was the legendary architect Gropius, who enlisted the likes of a Feininger to help with the development of this school and think-tank.
Before his succession to power, Hitler had on many occasions attacked the Bauhaus, as he considered it a "dangerous" entity, endangering the existence of more traditional approaches to artistic endeavor. When Hitler became chancellor in 1933, the Bauhaus eventually was dissolved, and Feininger, for one, came to America, which brings us up to his connection with the Chicago Tribune and his creation of the "Kinder-Kids."
What is important to note is that his comic strip and another, called the "Katzenjammer Kids" helped to establish the American comic strip, which is an art form of palpable significance; after all, would there have been a Walt Disney as we got to know him in 1928?
Incidentally, I believe that the "Katzenjammer Kids" still exists, which would make it the longest running comic strip of them all.
In an ensuing blog, I will discuss the great comic strips of the '30's arising from the time of Feininger and Dirks, the man who created the "Katzenjammer Kids."



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