172
172
László Moholy-Nagy
‘ADVERTISING POSTER’ (PNEUMATIK)
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 185,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
172
László Moholy-Nagy
‘ADVERTISING POSTER’ (PNEUMATIK)
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 185,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Photographs

|
New York

László Moholy-Nagy
1895-1946
‘ADVERTISING POSTER’ (PNEUMATIK)
fotoplastik, a unique object, comprising a gelatin silver print with extensive applied gouache and pigment, signed, dated, and annotated ‘Reklameplakat (Fotoplastik)’ by the photographer in ink, and with penciled reduction and other faint notations in unidentified hands on the reverse, 1924
6 3/8  by 4 1/2  in. (16.2 by 11.6 cm.)
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

The photographer to Esfir Shub, 1927-29

By descent to Shub’s son

Acquired from the above by Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Inc., New York

Acquired by the present owner from the above

Exhibited

Madrid, Circulo de Bellas Artes, László Moholy-Nagy: The Art of Light, June – August 2010; and traveling to:


Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, November 2010 - January 2011

The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, January - May 2011        

Budapest, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, June - September 2011

Literature

Olivia Maria Rubelo, Vincenzo Vitiello, et al., László Moholy-Nagy, The Art of Light (Madrid: Circulo de Bellas Artes, 2010), p. 225 (this object)

László Moholy-Nagy, Painting Photography Film (M. I. T. Press reprint of the 1925 original, 1987), p. 110

Offset Buch und Werbekunst, Vol. 7, 1926, p. 202

ReD. Ročnik 1, 1927-1928, p. 287

Hans M. Wingler, The Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago (M. I. T. Press, 1979), p. 276, fig. b

Irene-Charlotte Lusk, Montagen ins Blaue: László Moholy-Nagy, Fotomontagen und  -collagen 1922-1943 (Berlin, 1980), p. 127

Drawn and collaged variant:

Hans M. Wingler, The Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago (M. I. T. Press, 1979), p. 449, fig. c

Achim Borchardt-Hume, ed., Albers and Moholy: From the Bauhaus to the New World (Tate Modern, 2006), pl. 50

Catalogue Note

With its dynamic combination of image and type and its evocation of the speed of the machine age, ‘Advertising Poster’ (Pneumatik) is the key example of Moholy’s concept of Typophoto—the synthesis of typography and photography that he predicted would become the lingua franca of the modern era.  Moholy’s manifesto of Typophoto, published in 1926 in the Leipzig journal Offset Buch and Werbekunst, outlines with his customary and remarkable prescience the future of printed communications in the twentieth century.   In Moholy’s vision, the traditional linear type of Gutenberg would be exploded by the use of photographic reproductive techniques, techniques that would make possible the incorporation of images with type and the transformation of type itself.  As Moholy wrote, ‘The typophoto governs the new tempo of the new visual literature’ (quoted in Bauhaus Photography, MIT Press, p. 138). 

Moholy used Pneumatik to illustrate this new ‘visual literature’ in his manifesto.  Conceived of by Moholy as a quintessential typophoto, rather than an advertisement for an actual product, Pneumatik demonstrated the tremendous potential for creativity when typography was liberated from the strictures of letterpress.  In the object offered here, a car races along the curved letters of the word Pneumatik, hurtling toward the viewer from a vanishing perspective.  It is the dynamic shape of the letters as well as the speeding car that conveys the message.   

Like Moholy’s Fotoplastiks, this composition was created not as a singular original, but for reproduction.  Reproduction was its raison d’être.   In the present object, Moholy has accentuated the lettering with black and gray pigment, modulated the background with gouache, and painted in details of the car.  The result is an image that combines photography, typography, and handwork into a seamless visual experience—one that, in the new world of typophoto, could be reproduced on the printed page without losing any of its impact.   With advanced printing techniques that would utilize photography’s methods of reproduction, Moholy believed this would be eminently possible.  ‘In the future every printing press will possess its own block-making plant,’ Moholy predicted, ‘and it can be confidently stated that the future of typographic methods lies with the photo-mechanical processes’ (ibid., p. 138). 

The work offered here is likely based upon a drawn and collaged design in the collection of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humblebaek, Denmark (cf. Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World, pl. 50).   The importance of Pneumatik within Moholy’s oeuvre is underscored by its early illustration and exhibition history: in his groundbreaking 1925 volume, Malerei Fotografie Film; in the Offset Buch und Werbekunst in 1926; in the Czech avant-garde publication ReD in 1928; and at the 1929 Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart and later in Berlin, where installation views show a very large and prominent photograph of Pneumatik.   

Photographs

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New York