126
126
László Moholy-Nagy
UNTITLED (PHOTOGRAM WITH CIRCULAR SHAPES AND DIAGONAL LINE)
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 447,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
126
László Moholy-Nagy
UNTITLED (PHOTOGRAM WITH CIRCULAR SHAPES AND DIAGONAL LINE)
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 447,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Photographs

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New York

László Moholy-Nagy
1895-1946
UNTITLED (PHOTOGRAM WITH CIRCULAR SHAPES AND DIAGONAL LINE)
a unique object, on gaslight or printing-out paper, circa 1923-25 
9 3/8  by 7 in. (23.9 by 17.9 cm.)
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Provenance

The photographer to an associate

Acquired by William Larson from the above, 1973

Acquired by Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas from the above, 1980

Sotheby's New York, Photograms by László Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas, 27 April 2005, Sale 8150, Lot 79

Exhibited

Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California, Photographs of Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of William Larson,  4 April – 8 May 1975, and thereafter to 20 institutions through 1979

Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain, László Moholy-Nagy, 11 February – 7 April 1991, and thereafter to:

Fridericianum Museum, Kassel, 21 April – 16 June 1991

Musée Cantini, Marseille, 28 June – 15 September 1991

Literature

This photogram:

Herbert Molderings, Floris M. Neusüss, and Renate Heyne, Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms: Catalogue Raisonné (Ostfildern, 2009), fgm 81

Leland D. Rice and David W. Steadman, eds., Photographs of Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of William Larson (The Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, 1975), p. 37

Catherine David, Gianni Rondolino, Andrei Boris Nakov, and Veit Loers, László Moholy-Nagy (Valencia: IVAM Centre Julio Gonzaléz, 1991), pl. 78

Catherine David, Gianni Rondolino, Andrei Boris Nakov, and Veit Loers, László Moholy-Nagy (Marseille: Musée Cantini Marseille, Musées de Marseille, 1991), p. 206

Catalogue Note

‘Design with light: not in the sense of surface embellishment but rather the creation, using a cameraless process, of an illusionary and intangible picture space in which light itself generates forms in dynamic, special relationships’ (Die Form 4, no. 4, February 1929, quoted in Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms: Catalogue Raisonné, p. 67).

 

This large, early photogram, on matte-surface paper with a rich reddish-brown tonality, was likely made between 1923 and 1925, shortly after Moholy-Nagy began experimenting with the cameraless process and while he was associated with the Bauhaus in Weimar.  Elements of Moholy-Nagy’s Constructivist approach in his early painting media are echoed here, with a sense of tension and movement created through the deliberate placement of objects and shapes on the light-sensitive paper.  The basic geometric shapes of circles, lines, and rectangles that were the essential compositional devices of Suprematism are also undeniably present in this photogram. 

 

The photogram process was a natural extension of Moholy-Nagy’s lifelong interest in the manipulation of light and space across all media.  While the true nature of the household and industrial objects found in his photograms is typically disguised, several elements in the present image – including the large round glass, the coiled wire or cord, and the punctured disk – are recognizable in other photograms from the period (cf. fgms 47, 48, 83, and 85). 

 

The photogram offered here was originally acquired by the photographer William Larson from an associate of Moholy at the Institute of Design, Chicago.  It was included in the now-legendary 1975 exhibition Photographs of Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of William Larson, one of the first and most important exhibitions of Moholy’s work after the artist’s death.  It was subsequently acquired by the pioneering gallerists Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas and later sold in these rooms in the landmark auction, Photograms by László Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas. 

Photographs

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New York