László Moholy-Nagy / Eiffel Tower, Paris / 1925László Moholy-Nagy
Eiffel Tower, Paris

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Creator Name: Moholy-Nagy, László
Creator Nationality: North American; American
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1895 - 1946
Biography: László Moholy-Nagy American, b. Austria-Hungary, 1895-1946László Moholy-Nagy was an avant-garde painter, photographer, filmmaker, writer, and stage and graphic designer known for his experimental approach. He was also an influential teacher and advocate of the "new photography," the international movement that achieved prominence in Europe after World War I. Moholy-Nagy (born in Bácsborsod) studied law at the University of Budapest (1914) and served in the Austro-Hungarian army during the war (1915-17). Wounded, he became interested in art during his convalescence and, although briefly resuming his law studies, decided to pursue a career in the arts. In late 1919 he moved to Vienna, then settled in Berlin, where he became associated with the dadaists and other avant-garde artists. He took part in his first exhibition in 1922 at the Berlin gallery Der Sturm, showing abstract paintings and metal sculpture. That same year he and his wife, Lucia Moholy, began investigating photograms (cameraless photographs) and over the next several years would continue to experiment, producing negative prints, photomontages, photocollages, and photographs taken from a variety of viewpoints and angles. In 1923 Walter Gropius invited Moholy-Nagy to head the metal workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Moholy-Nagy also taught the school's introductory course and collaborated with his wife and Gropius to edit several volumes in the Bauhausbücher (Bauhaus Books) series. In 1925 he published his influential book Malerei, Photographie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) and the following year completed his first film, Berliner Stilleben (Berlin Still Life). Moholy-Nagy left the Bauhaus in 1928 following the resignation of Gropius and moved to Berlin to work as a commercial artist, specializing in stage and graphic design, as well as in film. The following year he published Von Material zu Architektur (published in translation as The New Vision: From Material to Architecture, 1930) and helped organize Film und Foto, the well-known exhibition of avant-garde photography and film held in Stuttgart. He also exhibited more than 90 photographs in the show. Following his 1932 divorce and the Nazi rise to power in Germany, Moholy-Nagy immigrated to Amsterdam (1934) and then England (1935). He was invited to Chicago in 1937 to found the New Bauhaus (reorganized as the Chicago School of Design in 1939 and then renamed the Institute of Design in 1944). Moholy-Nagy directed the school until 1946, when he died of leukemia. M.M.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Bácsborsod, Austria-Hungary
Creator Death Place: Chicago, IL
Creator Name-CRT: László Moholy-Nagy
Title: Eiffel Tower, Paris
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1925
Creation End Date: 1925
Creation Date: 1925
Object Type: Photographs
Materials and Techniques: gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Sheet: 29.2cm x 21cm, Image: 28.1cm x 21.1cm
Inscriptions: In graphite on verso: "eiffelturm 1925/LMN"; "19" [with a circle around it]
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1997.144
Credit Line: Dudley P. Allen Fund
Copyright: ? Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Rights: http://www.arsny.com
Provenance: Collection of Hattula Moholy-Nagy (daughter)
Context: Eiffel Tower exemplifies László Moholy-Nagy's inventive curiosity and accomplished sense of design. Especially in images made between 1925 and 1930, the artist relied on unusual vantage points, distorted angles, extreme close-ups, and odd details. In this image, he was looking upward, using the iron framework of the Eiffel Tower to organize the complex composition. Moholy-Nagy's deft use of light and shadow turns the tower's familiar forms into intricate, abstract patterns of curved and straight lines moving in all directions. At this time, he began to use a Leica, a lightweight, portable camera that had just come on the market. This revolutionary camera enabled photographers to make spontaneous pictures with available light and thus helped Moholy-Nagy discover new ways to express the vitality, complexity, and immediacy of the 20th-century urban culture.A mulit-talented man, Moholy-Nagy was active as a painter, designer, filmmaker, theoretician, teacher, writer, and photographer. He was a pioneering advocate for combining traditional arts with 20th-century technology and taught at the Bauhaus in Germany from 1923 to 1928. After emigrating to the United States in 1937, he taught at the Institute of Design in Chicago, which he also directed until his death in 1946.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1997.144
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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