17
17
László Moholy-Nagy
'FOTOGRAMM 1922' (PHOTOGRAM WITH SPIRAL SHAPE)
Estimation
150 000250 000
Lot. Vendu 317,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
17
László Moholy-Nagy
'FOTOGRAMM 1922' (PHOTOGRAM WITH SPIRAL SHAPE)
Estimation
150 000250 000
Lot. Vendu 317,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York

László Moholy-Nagy
1895-1946
'FOTOGRAMM 1922' (PHOTOGRAM WITH SPIRAL SHAPE)
a unique object, on printing-out paper, carte-postale, titled, dated '1922,' and inscribed 'original!!' in red pencil and with the photographer's 'moholy-nagy/ berlin-chbg. 9/ frederciastr. 27 atelier' studio stamp on the reverse, framed, 1922
5 3/8  by 3 1/2  in. (13.7 by 8.7 cm.)
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Provenance

An associate of the photographer, Institute of Design, Chicago

William Larson, 1973

Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas, 1980

Sotheby’s New York, 27 April 2005, Photograms by László Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas, Sale 8150, Lot 81

Collection of Dana and James Tananbaum, San Francisco

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2008

Exposition

Claremont, California, Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, Photographs of Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of William Larson, April - May 1975, and traveling through 1979 to: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; University of New Mexico Art Museum at Albuquerque; Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego; Vancouver Art Gallery; Arkansas Art Center at Little Rock; Tyler, Texas, Museum of Art; Philbrook Art Center at Tulsa; Detroit Institute of the Arts; Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University at Normal; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; J. B. Speed Art Museum at Louisville; Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia at Athens; Baltimore Museum of Art; Greenville, North Carolina, County Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art; Everson Museum of Art at Syracuse; College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University; Bowdoin College Museum of Art; South Dakota Memorial Art Center at Brookings; and Indiana University Museum of Art at Bloomington

Valencia, Spain, Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Centre Julio González, László Moholy-Nagy, February - April 1991, and traveling to: Fridericianum Museum at Kassel, Germany; and Musée Cantini at Marseille, France, through September 1991

Bibliographie

Herbert Molderings, Floris M. Neusüss, and Renate Heyne, Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms: Catalogue Raisonné (Ostfildern, 2009), fgm 15 and p. 51 (this unique object)

Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts, Vol. 4, No. 4, March 1923

László Moholy-Nagy, Malerei Photographie Film (Munich, 1925), p. 63

László Moholy-Nagy, Painting Photography Film (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987 reprint of the original 1925 edition), cover and p. 71

Das Deutsche Lichtbild (Berlin, 1927)

Fronta, internationaler Almanach der Aktivät de Gegenwart (Brno, 1927)

J. L. Martin, et al., eds., Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art (London, 1937)

Leland D. Rice and David W. Steadman, Photographs of Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of William Larson (Claremont College, 1975), p. 47, top illustration (this unique object)

Catherine David, Gianni Rondolino, Andrei Boris Nakov, and Veit Loers, László Moholy-Nagy (Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, 1991), pl. 56 (this unique object)

Catherine David, Gianni Rondolino, Andrei Boris Nakov, and Veit Loers, László Moholy-Nagy (Marseille: Musée Cantini, 1991), p. 186 (this unique object)

Renate Heyne, Floris M. Neusüss, and Herbert Molderings, László Moholy-Nagy: Fotogramme 1922 - 1943 (Munich, 1995), p. 155, cat. entry 11 (an enlargement in the collection of Museum Folkwang, Essen)

Moholy-Nagy and the New Vision (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1990), pl. 2 (an enlargement in the Museum’s collection)

Herbert Molderings, Collection Photo Poche: László Moholy-Nagy (Paris, 1998), pl. 1 (an enlargement in the collection of Museum Folkwang, Essen)

Description

This diminutive photogram, on carte-postale, is one of Moholy-Nagy’s first photograms, and it demonstrates, even at this early date, the themes that would occupy Moholy throughout his life: the making of pictures directly with the action of light; the creation of strong graphic designs; and the combination of image with typography, or typophoto,Moholy’s word for the future of printing, when type and photography would be combined into one. 

Moholy was first and foremost a painter—he called himself a Lichtner, or light-painter—who believed that new methods of interacting with light would extend the range of human vision.  His many years of making photograms were a continuous experimentation with the form, from his days in Germany, where the present image was made, to his larger, more expansive Chicago work (see Lot 23).  His photograms number in the hundreds, and some are known only in reproduction.  Yet the early photogram offered here—one of his first to be published—was kept by him as he moved across continents, decade by decade, from Germany to Holland, and then to London, and finally to Chicago.

The image was included in two notable publications during Moholy’s early career and has been anthologized in the Moholy literature many times since.  It was one of four Moholy photograms published in the March 1923 issue of Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts, a notable ‘little magazine’ of arts and letters that featured the work of, among others, Gertrude Stein, e. e cummings, Picasso, and Man Ray.  This Broom issue marked the first publication of Moholy’s cameraless work.  The image was again reproduced two years later, in the artist’s seminal Malerei Fotographie Film (Munich, 1925), amongst a plethora of pictures that demonstrated the new uses of the medium: X-ray photography, night photography, sports photography, wire-transmitted photographs, and more.   In both instances, the present photogram showed Moholy staking out a position against the old uses of the medium in favor of the new.  As he wrote in his Broom essay, only when traditional lenses and perspective are discarded will a revolution in vision be possible.

The letters that appear in the upper portion of the present image, OW, are notable as a nascent example of Moholy’s use of typophoto, the combination of picture and text that, he predicted, would be the basis of future communication in the world of print.   The letters are prominent in the enlargements Moholy made for exhibition: one such enlargement of the photogram can be seen in an installation view of the Berlin venue of the Film und Foto exhibition of 1929, and another, even larger, in his one-man show at the Künstlerhaus Brno in 1935 (cf. Heyne and Neusüss, pp. 216-17 and pp. 220-21). 

The photogram offered here has an illustrious history.   It was acquired by the photographer William Larson from an associate of Moholy at the Institute of Design, Chicago.  In 1975, the photographer Leland Rice, along with David Steadman, director of the Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, curated 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.  This landmark show and its catalogue featured the photogram offered here, as well as the one in Lot 20.  These two photograms were subsequently acquired by the pioneering gallerists Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas for their personal collection, and in April 2005, they were offered in these rooms in an unprecedented single-artist auction, Photograms by László Moholy-Nagy from the Collection of Eugene and Dorothy Prakapas. 

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York