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Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Photogram (Fotogramm)
Gelatin silver print

9 7/16 x 7 1/16 inches
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 (1987.1100.158), © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Excerpt from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

László Moholy–Nagy (American, born Hungary, 1895–1946)
Photogram, (Fotogramm), 1926

Moholy-Nagy played a key role at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau as a painter, graphic artist, teacher, and impassioned advocate of avant-garde photography. He made this image without a camera by placing his hand, a paintbrush, and other objects on a sheet of photographic paper and exposing it to light. While this simple process was practiced by photography’s founders in the nineteenth century and was later popularized as a child’s amusement, avant-garde artists of the twentieth century revived the photogram technique as a means for exploring the optical and expressive properties of light. With this shadow image of a hand and paintbrush, Moholy-Nagy ambitiously suggests that photography may incorporate, and even transcend, painting as the most vital medium of artistic expression in the modern age.

Additional Information

Dancing on the Roof: Photography and the Bauhaus (1923–1929)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
June 5–August 26, 2001

The Bauhaus, 1919–1933
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Photography at the Bauhaus
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


László Moholy–Nagy, American, born Hungary, (1895–1946)
b. July 20, 1895, Bácsborsód, Hungary
d. 1946

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: July 20

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