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László Moholy-Nagy Photo

László Moholy-Nagy

Hungarian-American Designer, Filmmaker, Painter, Photographer, Sculptor, and Theoretician

Movements and Styles: Bauhaus, Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Kinetic Art, Op Art

Born: July 20, 1895 - Borsod, Austria-Hungary

Died: November 24, 1946 - Chicago, Illinois

László Moholy-Nagy Timeline

Important Art by László Moholy-Nagy

The below artworks are the most important by László Moholy-Nagy - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

Photogram (1926)

Photogram (1926)

Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy was fascinated by light throughout his career, and photograms offered the opportunity to experiment with the subtlety of light and shade. To create the photogram, he laid everyday objects on light-sensitive paper before exposing them to light. The brightness of the object's silhouette depended on the exposure time - a longer exposure meant a brighter image. In this photogram a paintbrush lays over Moholy-Nagy's hands, perhaps slyly suggesting the photogram is a medium of art that rivals painting.

Gelatin silver print - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Composition A 19 (1927)

Composition A 19 (1927)

Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy's first abstract paintings featured opaque geometric shapes reminiscent of Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist paintings, yet Composition A 19 shows him developing beyond that style into new interests in light and the transparency of forms. The cross motif that appeared in his earlier paintings is here enlarged and doubled, the red and black crossbeams overlapping each other with varying levels of translucency.

Oil on canvas - Art Institute of Chicago

Bauhausbucher 8, Malerei, Fotografie, Film (1927)

Bauhausbucher 8, Malerei, Fotografie, Film (1927)

Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy was responsible for the typography and graphic design of all but three of the Bauhaus books. His primary concern for the design was the rational organization of space. He employed clean lines and typeface to achieve this effect. These designs were his first real exploration of graphic design, which he pursued further in posters and ads after he resigned from the Bauhaus.

Letterpress printed book - Museum of Modern Art, New York

Lightplay Black-White-Gray, 1930 (1930)

Lightplay Black-White-Gray, 1930 (1930)

Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy worked with engineer Istvan Sebok and technician Otto Ball to realize his vision for Light Prop for an Electric Stage, also known as the Light Space Modulator, the sculpture featured in this film. Uniting the artist's enthusiasm for the look of machines and for material innovation, it is one of the most famous early examples of Kinetic art. It went on to be presented as a freestanding, immobile sculpture and as a device in his experimental theatre and in this short experimental film, in which it is shot from different vantage points. The film captures the reflections and shadows created by the spinning sculpture, at times giving the impression of a functioning machine, a factory, or even an urban landscape.

16 mm black and white film, silent - Hattula Moholy-Nagy

Stage Set, Tales of Hoffmann (1929)
Artwork Images

Stage Set, Tales of Hoffmann (1929)

Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy's first set design after leaving the Bauhaus was for the Krolloper's production of the Tales of Hoffmann. The opera is typically produced with lavish sets and costumes, but Moholy-Nagy's simple design defies expectations in its use of contemporary urban elements such as stainless steel cots and plain white walls. Moholy-Nagy stated in an interview, "Let us test the staying power of so-called great music by having fun with its trappings. If we insist on grand opera, let us see it as contemporaries."

Silver gelatin print - George Eastman House, Rochester, New York

Double Loop (1946)

Double Loop (1946)

Artwork description & Analysis: After exploring light through the media of painting, film, and photography, Moholy-Nagy investigated its properties through transparent sculpture. He abandoned the geometric forms of his earlier work for biomorphic curves. Since his incisions in the Plexiglass could not be corrected, his swooping lines were especially daring. Moholy-Nagy was seriously ill when he made Double Loop, but the freedom of the dynamic form betrays nothing of his doubt or fear of death.

Plexiglass - Museum of Modern Art, New York



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Content compiled and written by Julia Brucker

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" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Julia Brucker
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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