© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Moholy-Nagy’s tenure at the Bauhaus, where he led the school’s preliminary course and metal workshop from 1923 to 1928, is most strongly associated with his promotion of technology and industrial materials as well as his innovative work with photography. Yet painting remained central to his practice, serving as an important means of advancing his investigation of light, transparency, and abstraction and their potential to produce new forms of visual experience. In this work he employs a constructivist vocabulary of geometric shapes and bold colors to describe a delicate, floating structure. His repetition and distortion of translucent rectangular forms suggest three-dimensional space as well as movement. Moholy further complicates and animates these relationships through contrasting surface effects, ranging from enamel-like gloss to rougher textures. He sometimes used the letters “A” or “Z” in his titles to denote a painting on canvas as opposed to one on a metal or synthetic support.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
BR50.416
People
László Moholy-Nagy, American (Bacsborsod, Hungary 1895 - 1946 Chicago, Ill., USA)
Title
A 18
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1927
Culture
German
Location
Level 1, Room 1520, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
irregular: 95 x 75.5 cm (37 3/8 x 29 3/4 in.)
frame: 113.7 x 93.3 x 10.8 cm (44 3/4 x 36 3/4 x 4 1/4 in.)
Provenance
Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, sold; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1950.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Museum Purchase
Copyright
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Accession Year
1950
Object Number
BR50.416
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Plus by minus: Today's Half-Century, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1968), n.p., cat. no. 126

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 27, repr.

Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 61, ill.

Leah Dickerman and Barry Bergdoll, Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity, exh. cat., ed. David Frankel, Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, 2009), cat. no. 287, p. 221, color repr.

Exhibition History

Plus by Minus: Today's Half-Century, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 03/03/1968 - 04/14/1968

From Werkbund to Bauhaus: Art and Design in Germany 1900-1934, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 05/12/1980 - 04/26/1980

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/07/1981 - 11/11/1981

19th- and 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 02/08/1982

Art of the Weimar Era, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 04/05/1982 - 05/22/1982

Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983

Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000

Modell Bauhaus, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 07/22/2009 - 10/04/2009

Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 11/08/2009 - 01/25/2010

32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 12/10/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/05/2019 - 01/01/2050

The Bauhaus and Harvard, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/08/2019 - 07/28/2019

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu