February 28 - April 22, 2006
Art Gallery of The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, NYC
Gallery Hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 12:00 - 6:00 PM

The Early Moholy-Nagy Reconsidered

Photographer: Gabriella Gyorffy

Special thanks for photography permission by
CUNY, The Salgo Trust for Education, Michael Szarvasy and Dr. Miklos Müller

László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) was a signal figure in the history of Modernist art. His astonishing creativity, which embraced painting, sculpture, graphics, typography, photography, film, stage design, industrial design, and commercial design, was sustained by an uncommon intellect as well as a deep commitment to the social value of art. One of the legendary teachers of the twentieth-century - initially at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau from 1923 to 1928, and later at the New Bauhaus and

László Moholy-Nagy
[Me] (László Nagy in military uniform), 1917, graphite and pencil crayons on military-issue postcard stock

Institute of Design in Chicago from 1937 to 1946 - he was a prolific and articulate writer whose books and essays had a significant impact on his contemporaries and, in many ways, anticipated artistic developments that began to surface in the 1960s.

The Art Gallery is honored to present this fascinating exhibition, which examines Moholy-Nagy's early career.         

Diane Kelder
Curator and Director of the Art Gallery of the Graduate Center of CUNY

"New Vision" has stimulated artists and others for generations now.
It was Gropius' recognition, in 1923, that this 28-year-old, largely self-trained artist and educator had arrived at a unique and powerful synthesis of contemporary aesthetic and reform ideas, and that these ideas were at base pedagogical that led him to hire Moholy-Nagy to the Bauhaus. Gropius never regretted his decision. In 1955 he wrote: "What the Bauhaus has achieved cannot be thought of without bringing back into one's mind the fiery spirit of Moholy, the Great Stimulator."

Oliver A. I. Botar
  Curator of the Exhibition
Associate Professor of Art History, University of Manitoba

- Excerpts from the Exhibition Catalogue by Oliver Botar

Lajos Kassák and László Moholy-Nagy
Buch Neuer Künstler [Book of new artists]
Vienna: Ma Editions, 1922
Cover design by Lajos Kassák

László Moholy-Nagy, untitled, 1922, linocut on paperork

László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled, n.d. [1921], linocut on paper
This work appeared in Der Sturm, vol. 12, no. 8, August 1921, p. 149.

This was Moholy-Nagy’s first publication in Der Sturm.
Walden would organize his first, landmark Der Sturm exhibition
by February of the following year.


László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled, n.d. [c. 1920]
linocut on paper, artist’s proof
Dedicated: "Sulinak Moholy-Nagy" [For Suli, Moholy-Nagy]

László Moholy-Nagy, A Szittya, New York
(Emil Szittya at the New York Café, Budapest), n.d.
[ca. April 1918]
Emil Szittya was the founder of the proto-Dada journal Der Mistral

Béla Uitz, Untitled (Teréz Kassák with arms crossed), 1920
Copper etching on paper
From: Versuche. Acth Radierungen [Experiments, Eight etchings]
Vienna: Verlag Max Hevesi, 1920
Published in a numbered edition of 50

In 1920 Uitz contracted with Viennese gallerist Max Hevesi to produce
the album Versuche. While these are masterful prints, they exhibit
features of the style that he had developed in Budapest, marking this
as an essentially commercial enterprise. Still, in this sheet, as well as
in his Self-Portrait, Uitz also pays homage to Kokoschka’s and
Schiele’s style of psychological Viennese portraiture.

Béla Uitz: Self-portrait
Copper Etching on paper
From: Versuche, Acht Radierungen
[Experiments, Eight etchings]
Vienna: Verlag Max Hevesi, 1920
Published in a numbered edition of 50ork

Sándor Bortnyik: Karl Liebknecht
1919, linocut on paper

Lajos Kassák: Tragédiás Figurák [Tragedy Figures]
Budapest: Ma Editions, 1919
Open to frontispiece:
Sándor Bortnyik: Portrait of Lajos Kassák, linocut
This copy is dedicated to
Bortnyiknak Kassák” [To Bortnyik from Kassák]r

Hors catalogue, Lajos Kassák, Ma Album
Including Bildarchitektur manifesto and six examples
of his Képarchitektúra, Vienna: Ma Editions, 1921
Open to the second woodcut (below)

Lajos Tihanyi: Portrait of Endre Ady
litograph on paper
March 1918 is the date of the original drawing,
now in a private Swiss collection
The litograph was published in Vienna, 1920k

György Bölöni: Az igazi Ady [The real Ady]
Paris, Editions Atelier de Paris, 1934
This volume is opened to display Erzsébet Landau’s photograph
Ady a halottaságyon [Ady on his deathbead], January 27, 1919
This copy is dedicated by the author
To the memory of Ady and Béla Révész, Budapest 1954 Dec. 15.”ation

Moholy-Nagy’s friendship with photographer Erzsébet Landau is evidence of his involvement with the medium by 1919. When the German novelist Thomas Mann visited Budapest, he had himself photographed by Landau. She was given the singular honor to photographing Ady on his deathbed early in 1919. It is possible that Landau was commissioned to take this portrait because – as Landau’s friend and as a regular visitor at the Ady apartment – Moholy-Nagy secured this work for her.

Nyugat [Occident], vol. 11, no. 21-22,
November 1016, 1918
Editor-in-Chief: Ignotus; Endre Ady and Mihály Babits, eds.
This issue is opened to display an advertisement for
Róbert Berény’s private art school.

Exhibition Catalogue
Oliver A. I. Botar
Technical Detours: The Early Moholy-Nagy Reconsidered

New York: The Graduate Center, CUNY and
The Salgo Trust for Education, 2006

Publication Designer: Zab Hobart of Zab Design, Winnipeg, Canada.

Work reproduced on the front cover:
László Moholy-Nagy, Architektur I or Konstruktion auf blauem Grund [Architecture 1 or Construction on blue ground], 1922, oil, metallic oil pigment and graphite on fine linen fabric, 65.2 X 55.4 cm
Collection of the Salgo Trust for Education

Work reproduced on the back cover (verso of the previous work):
László Moholy-Nagy, title unknown ("Eisenbahnbild mit Ackerfelder und 3" [Railway painting with farm fields and 3]), oil on fine linen fabric, n.d. [late 1920 or early 1921], 59 X 48 cm
Collection of the Salgo Trust for Education

The Catalogue is available through Diane Kelder, Curator

The Art Gallery of The Graduate Center, CUNY


Dr. William P. Kelly, President and Diane Kelder, Curator and Director of the Art Gallery of the Graduate Center of CUNY speaking at the opening of the exhibition and welcoming guests to the reception

Oliver Botar Curator of the Salgo Trust for Education and the Exhibition:
Technical Detours: The Early Moholy-Nagy Reconsidered, author of the
208-page exhibition publication of the same name

Hattula Moholy-Nagy, daughter of the artist and lender to the exhibit

Michael Szarvasy, Hungarian Art Foundation and Dr. Miklós Müller sponsors and lenders to the exhibit

Christina Salgo and Eileen Baral, Salgo Trust for Education, sponsors

Michael Szarvasy, Dr. Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, sponsor,
Ray Ring, Exhibition Designer, Oliver Botar,
Hattula Moholy-Nagy, and Dr. Miklós Müller

Hattula Moholy-Nagy with Oliver Botar

Dr. Matthew Witkovsky, National Gallery of Art; curator of the exhibition Oliver Botar; art restorer Nora Nagy; Peter Yeadon, Professor of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, developer of the digital animation of Moholy-Nagy's Kinetic-Constructive System (1922-28), on display in the exhibition

Márta Kucsora and Vilim Katalin visual artists from Hungary,
Terplan Scholars at Montclair State University

Dr. Matthew Witkovsky, Associate Curator of Photography,
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Szabolcs Bánffy

Hattula Moholy-Nagy with Andras Szanto, Art Critic

Andras Koerner and Oliver Botar

Zab Hobart, of Zab Designs, Winnipeg, designer of the exhibition
publication (Standing, in striped trousers); to her right, seated, 
noted Canadian performance artist Shawna Dempsey