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
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.
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