The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
He seemed to be destined for a musical career, a concert violinist,
perhaps, like his father, or a pianist, like his mother. But Lyonel Feininger
(1871-1956) would take another path. The son of immigrant German parents who
both had had stage careers in Europe, Lyonel was born and raised in New York
City and studied music with his parents. By the time he was 16, he had learned
all they had to teach him and they sent him to Hamburg for additional study.
Hamburg was an epiphany of sorts for the youth, a life-changing experience,
but one that neither he nor his parents had ever imagined. Within a month
of his arrival, the 16-year-old had abandoned his plans for a career in music
for one in the visual arts. He enrolled in the technical school to study drawing.
Within a year he was in Berlin, a student at the Berlin Academy of Fine Art.
By the time he was 22, he was providing his own livelihood in the capital
city by drawing political cartoons and newspaper comic strips. But though
he may have abandoned a career in music, Feininger never abandoned music:
besides continuing to play the violin, he composed a number of fugues for
Southgate MT. The Green Bridge II. JAMA. 2002;288(3):282. doi:10.1001/jama.288.3.282