Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Yesterday, I spent my day in Hampstead.

I tried to convince the chick working in the Oxfam shop just off the high street that she could sell a tea pot from the GDR (it had a maker's mark) for more than 3.99.  She actually couldn't understand what I was saying (excuse me?  what do you mean?) because English wasn't her first language, and, if one weren't asking her "how much...?" then it was a wash.  I busted out some ancient-old high school Spanish that equally tanked: Um, como se dice...?  El mas existe.  (Que lame.)

Then I found a photograph bearing the name of Eleonore "Lore" Feininger, daughter of Lyonel Feininger, on its matting.  The picture was either signed by Lore, who indeed was a photographer, or it was a portrait of Lore by someone whose name remains unknown.  The image shows a happy, smiling, young woman with large, light-colored eyes.  She's wearing a slim wedding ring and has her hair in a bob.  I'd date the picture from the 20s.  The matting and frame were not top quality, but they seemed period; the picture was compelling, but, without knowing if Lore is the subject or the photographer (or both) it's hard to know what the 5 x7 portrait is worth.  As a fan of Lyonel Feininger's art, the picture is of value because it in some way has a connection to him.  Apparently, no one at Oxfam had 'googled' Lore Feininger, and only priced the portrait at 8.99.  At the time, I neither bought the picture nor tried to talk the English-challenged shop worker into putting the portrait aside and contacting an auction house.  Perhaps I'll pop back in the shop today and see if the photo is still in house.

Well, it's now the day after I wrote the above bit, and, today, I went back up to Hampstead and bought the photo.  The internet searches that the hubs and I have engaged in continue to turn up nothing.  On line, there are only a handful of pictures with Lore Feininger's name attached, and, of them, only two viewable.  Apparently, she'd photographed other photographers of renown--T. Lux Feininger, her brother, and Erich Salomon, and those pictures have sold quite well at auction.  What did she look like?  Who took her photo?  My plan is to write to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, send a copy of the photo from the Oxfam shop, and see what they can tell me about its provenance.  Given that both Lore's dad and brother were instructors at Bauhaus, I'd imagine the archive could shed a little light on the subject.

Gelmeroda by L. Feininger

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