Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo

(1895-1946)
   painter and designer; championed Russian Constructivism at the Bauhaus.* Born in Bacsborsod, Hungary, he was studying law at Budapest when World War I brought an officer's com-mission. Severely wounded in 1917, he became enamored of Expressionism* and the Russian avant-garde while convalescing and thereafter forsook a legal career in favor of painting. With several social-revolutionary artists centered on the Budapest periodical Ma (Today), he gained immediate respect with his first exhibition in 1918.
   Moholy left Hungary when its Soviet regime collapsed. Settling in Berlin* in 1921, he championed Russian culture (he was indebted to Vladimir Tatlin) and signed the Constructivist manifesto opposing individualism while favoring "Ele-mentarist Art. He participated in a 1922 Constructivist Congress in Weimar and worked until 1923 as both writer and artist for several journals (including De Stijl and Cahiers d'art). In 1922 Herwarth Walden* sponsored his first Berlin exhibition. Intrigued by Moholy s work, Walter Gropius* invited him to the Bauhaus. For five years (1923-1928) he coedited the school's publications, di-rected its metal workshop, and, when Johannes Itten* departed, taught its pre-paratory course. When the Bauhaus relocated to Dessau in 1925, he helped design its new facilities. While continuing his artistic experiments, Moholy re-formed the school's instructional methods. His publication Kunst und Technikeine Einheit (Art and technology: A unity) reflects his Bauhaus philosophy.
   Local politics forced Moholy s move to Berlin. While he was extending his ideas to film* and typography, he participated in several exhibitions. A suc-cessful stage designer—he worked for the Kroll Opera and Erwin Piscator*— he began adding aluminum and synthetic materials to his painting. His lengthy fixation on a Licht-Raum-Modulator (light display machine), an early kinetic-energy design, was consummated with his film Lichtspiel Schwarz-Weiss-Grau (light display, black and white and gray) and the object s 1930 exhibition in Paris. In 1934 he left Germany and, after working in industrial design in Holland and England, moved to the United States in 1937. He was named president of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. An applicant in 1945 for American citizenship, he came under suspicion for his revolutionary activities in Budapest. In 1946, just before dying of leukemia, he published Vision in Motion.
   REFERENCES:Kostelanetz, Moholy-Nagy; Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy; Passuth, Mo-holy-Nagy.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Moholy-Nagy, László — born July 20, 1895, Bacsbarsod, Hung. died Nov. 24, 1946, Chicago, Ill., U.S. Hungarian painter, photographer, and art teacher. After studying law in Budapest, he went to Berlin in 1919, and in 1923 he took charge of the metal workshop of the… …   Universalium

  • Moholy-Nagy,Laszlo — Mo·holy Nag·y (mə hōʹlē nŏjʹ, mōʹhoi nŏdʹyə), Laszlo. 1895 1946. Hungarian born American artist and educator known for his artistic experiments with modern technology. He founded and directed (1938 1946) the Chicago Institute of Design. * * * …   Universalium

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