László Moholy-Nagy Untitled from Konstruktionen. Kestnermappe 6 (Constructions. Kestner Portfolio 6) 1923

  • Not on view

As a painter, sculptor, graphic designer, photographer, filmmaker, theorist, and teacher, László Moholy-Nagy was a virtual Renaissance man of modernism. After emigrating from Hungary following a Bolshevik coup in 1919, he lived from 1920 until 1923 in Berlin. There his experience of Dadaism, de Stijl, and Russian Constructivism influenced his own revolutionary ideas about space, time, motion, and light. In 1923 he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus in Weimar (and later in Dessau) and was instrumental in transforming the school from a crafts-workshop model into a center for industrial design and production. His innovative typography and page layouts for a series of Bauhaus books (1925–30) set a new standard for modern graphic design. Similarly remarkable were his poster designs, in which he placed different typefaces, type sizes, and geometric forms in imaginative arrangements. His experimental photographs and photograms were also influential. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1928, Moholy-Nagy practiced design in Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. In 1937 he immigrated to the United States to direct the New Bauhaus in Chicago, and a year later founded his own school of design.

Moholy-Nagy's involvement with printmaking was never as extensive as his design work or photography, although he did make several small geometric woodcuts, linoleum cuts, and drypoints between 1919 and 1925. His most monumental print project was Constructions, a relatively rare example of Constructivist printmaking. It was the last of six portfolios by different artists published in 1923 by the bookseller Ludwig Ey in conjunction with Eckart von Sydow, artistic director of the Kestner-Gesellschaft, a contemporary art institute founded in Hannover in 1916. Constructions' compositions of intersecting planes and floating shapes are related to Moholy-Nagy's abstract paintings and his groundbreaking kinetic assemblage of metal and transparent plastic, Light-Space Modulator (1922–30). In the plate shown, for example, the gradations of tone in the overlapping strips and half-moons suggest transparency, depth, and motion.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Starr Figura, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 83.
One from a portfolio of six lithographs
composition (irreg): 23 9/16 x 10 15/16" (59.8 x 27.8 cm); sheet: 23 9/16 x 17 5/16" (59.8 x 44 cm)
Eckart von Sydow, Hannover, Verlag des Buchhändlers Ludwig Ey, Hannover, Hannover
Robert Leunis & Chapman, Hannover
Acquired through the publisher
Object number
© 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].