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    Sale 7570

    Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints

    2 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 204

    Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1894-1946)

    6. Kestner-Mappe 6 Konstruktionen, Hanover, Verlag Ludwig Ey, 1922-3 (Passuth 122-7; Weber 38.1-6)

    Price Realised  

    Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1894-1946)
    6. Kestner-Mappe 6 Konstruktionen, Hanover, Verlag Ludwig Ey, 1922-3 (Passuth 122-7; Weber 38.1-6)
    the complete portfolio of six lithographs variously printed in red, grey and black, with justification, copy number 9 from the edition of fifty published for the Kestner-Gesellschaft, 1922-23, on smooth wove paper, each signed in pencil, the full sheets, loose as issued, each sheet with a French custom stamp on the reverse, four of the six sheets with a stamp offset from the reverse of one above, occasional minor defects and handling creases, otherwise in good condition, in the original green card portfolio with paper label pasted to the front
    L., S. 430 x 600 mm. (and similar)


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    In 1922, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was given the privilege of creating the sixth and final portfolio for the Kestner-Gesellschaft, the art institute in Hanover dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art in Germany. It was a pivotal time for the artist, who in the same year was asked by Walter Gropius to join the faculty of the Bauhaus, and became its youngest professor at the age of 27. At the time of the publication, Moholy-Nagy was at the height of his new style and he seized upon the opportunity to create something in lithography, a printmaking technique that was new to him.

    The set Moholy-Nagy produced owes a debt to El Lissitzky, whose Prouns he had admired from their inception; he was also deeply influenced, if only in formal terms, by Suprematism. But the greatest share of his inspiration came from his own photograms--photographs created by placing objects of varying transparency and shape directly on light-sensitive paper--whose simple intent was to capture the effects of light. It must be assumed that the manipulation of images afforded in the medium of photography, such as reversal and enlargement of images, fed his interest in printmaking, as the crayon drawn on the lithographic stone prints in reverse.

    The present set is of extreme beauty, balance and depth, and Moholy-Nagy's use of lithography is exceptional for an artist unaccustomed to the medium. Colour is relegated to two plates: the vibrant red of one seems to quote Malevich, while the sandy beige of the other reflects the same subtle use of color in Lissitzky's Kestnermappe. Still as visually stirring today as it was at the time of its production over 75 years ago, Moholy-Nagy's 6 Konstruktionen is one of the first great portfolios of avant-garde printmaking.

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