||Inventory prepared by Sarah Shipley
||Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
||P.O. Box 6826; Houston, TX 77265-6826
||.25 linear feet + oversized
||This collection includes notes written by Moholy-Nagy as well as annotated drafts and proofs of materials for publication.
||Materials are in English, German
||Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
P.O. Box 6826; Houston, TX 77265-6826
|box 1||folder 1||Hand written note by Moholy-Nagy on on a photo idea with bird´s eye and worm´s eye view, between 1922-1946|
Starting with his marriage to his first wife, photographer Lucia Schultz Moholy, in 1922, Moholy-Nagy began experimenting with the medium of photography. He used different photographic techniques, photo-collage, unusual perspectives and cropping.
The idea he has written here, "Die [ungedeckte?] Perspective" includes the bird´s eye view, a worm´s eye view and multiple images together. He references the English artist William Hogarth (1697-1746) who was a master of perspective in his work and produced an engraving which included a mix of different perspectives titled "Satire on False Perspective" for John Joshua Kirby´s pamphlet on linear perspective.
|2||Moholy-Nagy instructions on reproduction of photogram, between 1922-1946|
This is a handwritten note by Moholy-Nagy with instructions on reproduction of a brown photogram. A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera. Moholy-Nagy writes in "Painting, Photography, Film", that photograms are means of "light-composition" equivalent to color in painting and sound in music. He describes his method of making photograms as light falling on light sensitive materials through objects which have "different coefficients of refraction or to be deflected from its original path by various contrivances."
Moholy-Nagy began experimenting with photographic techniques with his first wife, the photographer Lucia Schultz Moholy, in 1922. Moholy-Nagy is one of group of modern artists in the 1920s, including Christian Schad and Man Ray, who notably experimented with the artistic medium of the photogram as a prominent part of their work.
|3||Proof of article "Why Bauhaus Education?" by Moholy-Nagy with corrections and notations in margin, March 1938. |
This is an article in Shelter, no. 3, pp. 6-21. March 1938, a magazine on architecture and design published by R. Buckminster Fuller. In this article Moholy-Nagy makes the case for Bauhaus education, an education that addresses not only the intellect, but also the senses. This draft includes three paragraphs of material that Moholy-Nagy has marked out for exclusion in the final article. The back of the page includes the proof version of a description of Moholy-Nagy´s career, a photo of Moholy and a section about Moholy-Nagy written by Walter Gropius.
|4||Hand written notes for lecture on the history of photography with notes on people on the back, Institute of Design letterhead by Moholy-Nagy, 1946|
This is a page of handwritten notes by László Moholy-Nagy. It is written on the letterhead of the Institute of Design in Chicago, originally named the New Bauhaus, which he founded and then directed from 1937-1945. This letter can be dated to 1946 by the tenure of Serge Chermayeff as president of the Institute of Design as well as the movement of the Institute to Dearborn street around September of 1946.
The front of the page contains notes on the history of photography. Moholy-Nagy starts with Aristotle (384 BC — 322 BC), who wrote the first known description of a camera obscura in Problemata. Then he moves to the 19th Century with Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805) and Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), who made some of the first images recorded with light sensitive materials, and the use of silver chloride. He then notes Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) who adopted hyposulphate of soda as the fixing agent.
His note "Niepce copied lithos 1813" refers to Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) whose experimented with lithography as a means of capturing images. Moholy-Nagy then moves to Daguerre noting that his method had "no means to reproduce." Next, is William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), inventor of the calotype, followed by David Octavius Hill (1802-1970) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848) who in 1843 used photography as a means of capturing the likeness of the members of the new Free Church of Scotland. Gustave Le Gray (1820-1882) created a recipe for collodion on glass negatives. Alexander Gardner and Mathew Brady were known for their photography of the American Civil War.
André-Adolphe-Eugčne Disdéri (1819-1889) invented the carte de visite (i.e. "visiting card") photograph which first enabled the mass production of photographs. Moholy-Nagy notes one of his carte de visite of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie. Félix Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820-1910) who was also a balloonist and was the first person to take aerial photographs. Moholy-Nagy notes he "believed in sharpness." Moholy-Nagy notes the artist and photographer Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon (1818 —1881) whose photographs gained more acceptance as works of art as a "machine painter." He ends these notes with "Rejlander Superimpostion." Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813-1875) was a Swedish photographer living in England who experimented with double exposure, photomontage, photographic manipulation and retouching.
The back page contains notes with names, addresses and notations to various areas related to the subjects taught at the Institute such art history, design, theatrical design, photography. There are also notes on visual perception and psychology, referencing Gestalt psychology and the Ladd Franklin Hypothesis of Color Vision. Various sections of the notes are marked early or middle. Names include Mrs. L. Forwalter, Mr. J. Forwalter, Mrs. Garduk, Mr. Novak, Mr. Paulin and George Mandell. Mr. Paulin may refer to the photographer Frank Paulin (1926-) who was known to be enrolled at the Institute at that time. It is also known that Moholy-Nagy was at this time looking for new teachers for the Institute due to an increase in student enrollment.
|box 2||folder 1||Galley proof of letter to be printed in "Telehor: The International Review New Vision" from Moholy-Nagy to Frantisek Kalivoda, June 1934|
1 leaf ; 16 cm.
This is a gallery proof of a letter from László Moholy-Nagy to Frantisek Kalivoda, editor of Telehor. This letter was written for publication in a now rare 1936 special double-issue devoted to Moholy-Nagy which includes an introduction by Siegfried Giedion, essays from Moholy-Nagy and reproductions of his works as well as a post-script by Frantisek Kalivoda. Frantisek Kalivoda (1913-1971) was a noted avant-garde Czech architect. He wrote in the postscript to this issue that the "basic programme of this periodical [is] to discuss the problems of modern art and to indicate the precise connections existing between its various categories and, in particular, between the spheres of painting, photography and film."
In this letter, Moholy-Nagy outlines his vision of art using "creative manipulation of light" to create various types of light displays. He writes, "the flowing chords of my visions formed fully orchestrated symphonies of light." He ends the letter acknowledging that that while it is currently "impossible" to fully utilize optical techniques to actually form his visions, he will continue to experiment with light.
|2||Partial draft of introduction to the revised and enlarged edition of "The New Vision: Fundamentals of Design, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture" by László Moholy-Nagy circa 1938|
1 leaf ; 84 cm + fragment.
This is a partial typewritten draft of the introduction to the revised and enlarged edition of "The New Vision: Fundamentals of Design, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture" by László Moholy-Nagy. In it he outlines the educational structure of the New Bauhaus, later the Institute of Design, which he founded in Chicago. He covers the preliminary courses and workshops that are offered. This appears to be a middle draft with many handwritten annotations and changes. Notably eliminated in the final printed introduction is mention of a sixth workshop in stage (exposition architecture, display).