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László Moholy-Nagy

Moholy-Nagy, László (läˈslō môˈhôlē-nŏˈdyə) [key], 1895–1946, Hungarian painter, designer, and experimental photographer. He turned to art after studying law. While living in Berlin he was one of the founders of constructivism, experimenting with photograms and translucent materials. As a professor in the newly opened Bauhaus from 1923 to 1928, Moholy-Nagy was coeditor with Walter Gropius of the school's regular publications. While there he experimented with a form of kinetic art, which he called "light space modulators," a stunning array of motor-driven shapes that he illuminated to produce elaborate shadows on the nearby walls. He worked in Berlin until 1934 as a typographer and designer of stage sets. In 1937 he directed the Bauhaus School of Design in Chicago until it failed (1938). Thereafter he opened the Chicago Institute of Design, which he headed until his death. His greatest contribution to modern art lay in his teaching, which deeply influenced American commercial and industrial design. He was the author of The New Vision (tr. 1928) and Vision in Motion (1947).

See study by S. Moholy-Nagy, his wife (1950); R. Heyne and F. M. Neusüss, ed., Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms (2010); Moholy: An Education of the Senses (museum catalog, 2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies


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