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László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy

*  1895 Bácsbarsod/Ungarn
† 1946 Chicago

The Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy was born in Bàcsborsod on July 20, 1895. In terms of his career as an artist, Moholy-Nagy can be described as an autodidact, even though his oeuvre and his teaching activities at the Bauhaus had a major impact on art, both theoretically as well as practical.
László Moholy-Nagy begins to study law in Budapest before he is drafted in 1915. He is heavily injured in 1917, during the time of recovery he is working on watercolors and pictures in oil crayon. He completes his law studies in 1918 and turns entirely to painting.
In 1919 Moholy-Nagy moves to Vienna and to Berlin in 1920. A year later he marries the photographer Lucia Schulz, the same year he gets to know El Lissitzky and also comes into contact with other constructivist artists. He creates pictures and collages in which he works out spatial depth and perspective by means of composing geometric forms. László Moholy-Nagy also experiments with the means of photography and makes photograms. His works are on exhibition in the "Sturm" gallery of Herwarth Walden in 1923. The same year he follows the call of Walter Gropius to the Bauhaus in Weimar. Up until 1928 he is in charge of the preparatory course for the metal workshop (as the successor of Johannes Itten).
His focus is on the visual character and the properties of the employed materials, thus giving important impulses to the Bauhaus concepts. In co-operation with Walter Gropius he also publishes the Bauhaus books for which he does the typography. In 1928 Moholy-Nagy and Gropius leave the Bauhaus, he goes to Berlin where he experiments with light, colors, various materials and also film. He makes stage designs for the State Opera and the Piscator theatre.
Due to the pressure enforced upon him by the National Socialists, he decides to immigrate to London in 1934. Three years later he goes to the USA where he co-founds the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937/38. After its closure he is head of the School of Design (renamed Institute of Design as of 1944) in Chicago from 1938 up until his death on November 24, 1946.