The Tug

The Tug
Lyonel Feininger (American, 1871-1956)
Oil and pencil on canvas 
16 x 19 in. (40.6 x 48.3 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mrs. Matilda H. Rummage 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
On View

Feininger began this scene of a tugboat towing a sailing ship decked with French and German flags during a summer holiday on the Baltic coast in 1934. He finished it three years later, reinforcing the straight, slender lines of the ships and rigging with pencil applied over the paint layers, on the eve of his departure from Germany. The Bauhaus—a progressive and hugely influential art school where Feininger had held various appointments since 1919—was forcibly closed by the Nazi government in 1933, and Feininger’s art was declared entartete (degenerate). Forced to flee his adopted homeland, Feininger returned to the United States in June 1937. With crisp lines, a bright palette, and the friendly juxtaposition of French and German flags, this composition conveys an optimism at odds with the grim historical circumstances in which it was painted.


The artist, sold through;
The Museum of Modern Art, New York for;
Frederica P. (Mrs. Harry L. S.) Halley, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 8 April 1946, by descent to;
Mrs. Matilda H. Rummage, Woodland Hills, California, bequeathed 29 June 1992 to;
Norton Simon Museum.

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