In 1922, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was given the honor 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 was asked the same year to join the faculty of the Bauhaus by Walter Gropius, and was its youngest professor at age 27. At the time of Konstruktionen's 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 capturing 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. Color 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 its production over 75 years ago, Moholy-Nagy's set of lithographs is one of the first great portfolios of avant-garde printmaking.