Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was born in 1895 in a small village called Bácsborsód in southern Hungary. When Laszlo and his siblings were young, the father left them with their mother. The mother then brought her three boys, including Laszlo, to her family where her brother Gusztáv Nagy became a big part in their upbringing. Laszlo was guided by his uncle Gusztáv and was able to attend an excellent education in Szeged, Hungary. The school he attended allowed him to comprehend connections between aspects in a holistic manner. Laszlo was interested in becoming a writer, but was then encouraged by his uncle to go to law school. As he was studying to become a lawyer, World War I erupted resulting in his enlistment in the Austro-Hugarian army in 1915. In order to pass time, Laszlo would draw colorful, animated, and even funny sketches on military-issue postcards and carry them around with him. This experience, along with a couple of mentors and friends, encouraged him to think about becoming an artist. In 1918, he then began attending art classes in the evenings and submitting his expressionism art pieces to exhibits. Around this time, he also became interested in photography through a friend who gave him one of her old cameras. After World War I ended, Laszlo left Budapest and began traveling to different cities and countries. When he was in Vienna, he joined a group of Hungarian exiles due to political repression and was influenced by the art and writing of their group leader Lajos Kassák. He then left for Berlin in 1920 where he was faced with various types of European artists and writers. This influenced his art, altering it from expressionism to abstract. He was also influenced by the Russian Constructivists whose work was implemented by the Soviet Union. He was impressed with their style of passion and vitality and was able to develop his own dynamic and positive style by the mid-1920s. This art also influenced his social philosophy believing art could enhance society. He produced art through various forms such as canvas, paper, linoleum, wood, glass, and metal. He was then influenced by writer, editor, and photographer Lucia Schulz who soon became his wife in 1921. Lucia taught him how to develop photograms which are photographic images without the use of a camera. This particular technique of photography fascinated Laszlo and allowed him to examine texture and composition. The architect and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, was interested in Laszlo’s work so much that he hired him as a teacher to work at the Bauhaus which was a school of architecture, art, and design in Weimar. This school aligned with Laszlo’s philosophical belief that an artistic education will improve society. Around this time, he also experimented painting with aluminum, plastic, and even spray guns. He also created art for commercials and published articles about the Bauhaus philosophy with the help of Walter Gropius. After he left the Bauhaus, he moved back to Berlin where he and Lucia separated. From 1929 to 1936, he became interested in motion pictures and shot many short films. Between this period, he married writer Sibylle Pietzsch and moved to Holland where he enhanced his work of color photography. He later moved to London where he painted on transparent plastic in order to cast shadows creating “light modulators”. He was then offered a job to teach again in Chicago where he implemented the Bauhaus philosophy again. When this school closed, he opened his own school called “The School of Design in Chicago” which was renamed “The Institute of Design” in 1944. Laszlo put most of his energy into this school, but still made time to create art. In 1945, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and died in 1946.



“Abstraction in Photography of László Moholy-Nagy: Ideelart.”, 

“László Moholy-Nagy.” Exhibitions – László Moholy-Nagy | Hauser & Wirth,