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Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Records, undated, 1934-1946

Biographical or Historical Note

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1894-1946) was a painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist and teacher who was a major figure in the Bauhaus movement, first in Germany and later instrumental in bringing the Bauhaus philosophy to the United States. His work spanned many genres. He was influenced by the Constructivists, Dadaists and the Suprematists. He experimented with photographic techniques with his first wife, fellow photographer Lucia Schultz Moholy.

He was born Laszlo Weisz in Hungary. He enrolled as a law student at the University of Budapest in 1913 where he contributed to avant-garde magazines, but was called into the army during World War I. Praise for his wartime sketches encouraged his artistic inclinations and he began to contribute to art publications as well as literary ones. When he was on reserve in Budapest he took evening classes at Robert Berény´s art school. In 1919 he moved briefly to Vienna and then to Berlin. By 1922, an exhibition of his work was touring nationally and he was appointed to the Bauhaus school of design where he taught with colleagues such as Josef Albers. He wrote two Bauhaus books and co-edited fourteen Bauhaus books on modern art and design, wrote two, and contributed to Oskar Schlemmer´s book on theater.

He left the Bauhaus in 1928 due to political pressures, following the example of German Architect Walter Groipus, and embarked on commercial practices in Berlin, Amsterdam and London from 1929-1937. In London, his social circle included artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

In 1937, Moholy-Nagy moved to in Chicago to direct the New Bauhaus. He had been appointed by the American Association of the Arts by the recommendation of Walter Gropius. After a year the Association withdrew its support of the New Bauhaus, but Moholy-Nagy and his staff reopened it in 1939 as the School of Design, later changing the name to the Institute of Design in 1944. Moholy-Nagy died of leukemia in 1946.

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