Post War + Contemporary Art /27 April 2010


László Moholy-Nagy 1895–1946

House Painting in Switzerland, c. 1925
Printed in 1973
gelatin silver print
20 h × 16 w in (51 × 41 cm)

Stamped in red ink and signed by Hattula Moholy-Nagy. This work is number 31 from the edition of 50. Originally part of a box set of 12 reprinted and published by the Friedrich Gallery of Munich and Gallery O of Milan under the auspices of Hattula Moholy-Nagy.

provenance: Private collection

estimate: $4,000–6,000

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László Moholy-Nagy 1895–1946

Born in Hungary in 1895, László Moholy-Nagy was one of the most prominent members of the Bauhaus School. First studying law in Hungary, Moholy-Nagy was later drafted into the army to fight in World War I.  He was wounded in combat, and while convalescing, he began to draw and write. Moholy-Nagy started to take courses in painting and became a part of the newly-formed Avant-garde group known as “MA”, or Magyar Aktivizmus which means Hungarian Activism. In 1920, Moholy-Nagy married photographer Lucia Moholy (née Shulz) and the couple often experimented with photographic methods; Moholy-Nagy’s Photograms, made without the use of a camera or negatives, stand as enduring part of his legacy. In 1922, Moholy-Nagy was invited by Walter Gropius to become a Master at the Bauhaus School in Weimar. At the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy taught the famous foundational course and was head of the metalsmithing workshop. He left the Bauhaus in 1928 and moved to Berlin where he founded his own graphic design firm. With the rise of the Nazi party, in 1934 Moholy-Nagy left Germany for Amsterdam. A year later, he moved to London, where he continued to work as a graphic designer. In 1937 Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago at the urging of Walter Gropius and together they founded the New American Bauhaus. Due to financial difficulty, the school closed in 1938, but reopened again in 1939 as the Chicago School of Design and is now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moholy-Nagy was director of the school until 1945. He died the following year. His expansive and cross-disciplinary career was honored in 2016 with a retrospective entitled Moholy-Nagy: Future Present at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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