Lyonel Feininger isn't a name that's widely known. He was a remarkable man: cartoonist, composer, violinist and artist. He was born in New York but travelled to Germany in 1887 and lived there for most of his life.
I first came across his work in a battered book I found in a Durham junk shop. I'd just started painting seriously and was feeling I somehow had to break away from the influences that had so far dominated my work. As soon as I saw Lyonel's pictures I knew I had a new place to start from.
His shaded blocks of colour, angled lights and heavy textures drew me in and started me off on a new series of abstract paintings.
But that was all a long time ago, a half century ago. I'd almost forgotten my debt to Lyonel but, as I was strolling through Berlin's fabulous Neue Nationalgalerie there he was! I felt the same thrill. I stood and just absorbed his work all over again.
Although he worked among some of the greats in Germany his work, like that of many others, was classified by the Nazis as degenerate art at their infamous Entartete Kunst exhibition in 1936. Lyonel promptly left Germany for America but returned after the war to a country transformed by the ravages of conflict.
He's one of thousands of artists who made great contributions but, for one reason or another, haven't been remembered by many except the artists they influenced. Look him up - there's plenty of his work on the web. You might, like me, be inspired!