László Moholy-Nagy  (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 

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László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895–1946) was a photographer best known for his explorations of light, shadow, and reflections, and their impact on developing artistic media. Moholy-Nagy was fascinated by technology and machines, and used various mechanisms to improve printed photography. The artist began his career during World War I, creating more than 400 drawings on military issued-postcards. While living in Budapest, Moholy-Nagy joined creative circles, developing as an Abstract painter influenced by Kazimir Malevich (Russian/Ukrainian, 1878–1935) and El Lissitzky (Russian, 1890–1941). In 1919, due to political upheaval in Hungary, Moholy-Nagy traveled to Berlin, where he joined the faculty of the German Bauhaus in 1923. As a part of the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy was one of the most important members of the Constructivist movement, which promoted art as a practice for social purpose. As Moholy-Nagy explored various media, he began to toy with machines and instruments to understand the mechanics of light and shadow. From 1922-1930 Moholy-Nagy developed his famous Light Space Modulator, a machine made of glass, metal, light bulbs, and transparent paper that facilitated his study of pools of light and shadow. Moholy-Nagy would later carry over his findings into color photography. In the 1930s and 1940s, the only form of color photography available to artists was the dye transfer method, a printing style that the artist felt lacked the depth of explorative methods one could find in black-and-white photography. Capturing images of traffic lights in long exposure and other time study techniques, Moholy-Nagy developed Kodachrome film, and material which allowed the artist to translate space and time into printed photography. Today, color photographers often use Chromogenic film, the ideal media Moholy-Nagy would have preferred to use. In 1937, the artist moved to Chicago to serve as the director of the New Bauhaus. When the school closed the following year, Moholy-Nagy founded the School of Design along with his Bauhaus faculty members. In 1944, the School of Design became the Institute of Design in Chicago. Not long after the school was founded, in 1946, Moholy-Nagy passed away due to complications from leukemia. One of the most celebrated photographers of his time, Moholy-Nagy’s work has exhibited at major institutions around the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, and the Tate Modern in London.

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László Moholy-Nagy, Circle and Planes

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Circle and Planes
1924

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Two Circles with Strips)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Untitled (Two Circles with Strips)
1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Composition)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Untitled (Composition)
1924

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Half Circles with Diagonal Rectangle)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Untitled (Half Circles with Diagonal Rectangle)
circa 1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Squares and Rectangles)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Untitled (Squares and Rectangles)
circa 1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Planes and Strips

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Planes and Strips
1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Construction)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Untitled (Construction)
1921-1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Segments of Circle with Cross

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Segments of Circle with Cross
1922

Alice Adam Ltd.
László Moholy-Nagy, Herbstwäsche, Ascona, Lago Maggiore / Autumn Laundry, Ascona, Lake Maggiore

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Herbstwäsche, Ascona, Lago Maggiore / Autumn Laundry, Ascona, Lake Maggiore
Galerie Orlando
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László Moholy-Nagy, La Sarraz, Mauer am Genfer See. An outline of the universe (2 works)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
La Sarraz, Mauer am Genfer See. An outline of the universe (2 works), 1929
gelatin silver print

 

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László Moholy-Nagy, Licht-Raum-Modulationen (portfolio of 6)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Licht-Raum-Modulationen (portfolio of 6), 1930-1946
gelatin silver print

 

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László Moholy-Nagy, Mein Name ist Hase - ich weiss von nichts (My Name is Hare - I Know Nothing)

 

László Moholy-Nagy
Mein Name ist Hase - ich weiss von nichts (My Name is Hare - I Know Nothing), 1927
gelatin silver print

 

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1895   Born in Bácsborsod
1915   Enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian army as an officer in the artillery
1923   Invited to join the Bauhaus (founded in 1919) where he taught a metal class and various areas of design
1937   Emigrated to the United States and ran the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago
1938   Opens his own art institute, the School of Design, in Chicago
1946   Died in Chicago, IL
2007   Sept. 7 - Oct. 13, "Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Photography and Sculpture", Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
2006   Feb. 28 - April 22, "Technical Detours: The Early Work of Moholy-Nagy Reconsidered", Art Gallery of the Graduate Center, City University of New York
1996   Sept. 5 - April 12, "László Moholy-Nagy: From Budapest to Berlin, 1914-1923", University of Delaware
1978   Oct. 21 - Nov. 26, "Photographs and Paintings by Moholy-Nagy", US, NY, Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery
  Museum of Modern Art Collection