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PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

László Moholy-Nagy
SEGMENTS
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
12

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

László Moholy-Nagy
SEGMENTS
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

László Moholy-Nagy
1895 - 1946
SEGMENTS
signed Moholy-Nagy and dated 1921 on the reverse; signed L. Moholy-Nagy, titled, dated 1921 and inscribed (Tempera) on the stretcher
tempera and traces of pencil on canvas
76 by 48.5cm.
29 7/8 by 19 1/8 in.
Painted in 1921.
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The authenticity of this work has been verbally confirmed by Hattula Moholy-Nagy.

Provenance

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy (the artist's widow)

Helmut G. Franke, Chicago (acquired from the above)

Private Collection, USA (a gift from the above. Sold: Sotheby’s, New York, 14th November 1985, lot 242A)

Galerie Beyeler, Basel (purchased at the above sale)

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1986

Catalogue Note

Dating from 1921, Segments was created two years before Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, asked Moholy-Nagy to join the academy. The composition displays the artist’s characteristic innovative boldness, establishing a dialogue between the elongated black bar and the semi-circular shapes, as well as between these finely painted elements and the coarse appearance of the bare canvas. Moholy-Nagy firmly believed that the art of the present must parallel contemporary reality in order to communicate meaning to its public, surrounded by new technological advancements. He therefore considered traditional, figurative painting obsolete and turned to pure geometric abstraction filtered through the stylistic influence of Russian Constructivists such as Malevich and El Lissitsky (fig. 2). In the present work Moholy-Nagy explored a way of representing light and shadow through the purely abstract vocabulary of the intersecting semi-circular elements.        

Moholy-Nagy’s vision of a non-representational art, consisting of colour, texture, light and balance of forms, was a constant throughout his career. He attempted to define an objective science of essential forms, colours, and materials, which would promote a more unified social environment. In his book Vision in Motion, he sought to explain his underlying beliefs on the function of art: ‘Art is the most complex, vitalising and civilising of human actions. Thus it is of biological necessity. Art sensitizes man to the best that is immanent in him through an intensified expression involving many layers of experience. Out of them art forms a unified manifestation, like dreams which are composed of the most diverse source material subconsciously crystallized. It tries to produce a balance of the social, intellectual and emotional existence; a synthesis of attitudes and opinions, fears and hopes’ (L. Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, Chicago, 1947, p. 28).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London