László Moholy-Nagy Q 1 Suprematistic 1923

  • Not on view

In 1922 the First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin first exposed Moholy-Nagy (then living in Germany) and Western European audiences in general to the extensive artistic experimentation that had taken place in Russia after the revolution of 1917. This work illustrates Moholy-Nagy's commitment to the ideas of Russian avant-garde artists such as Kazimir Malevich, whose aesthetic theory, known as Suprematism, espoused "the rediscovery of pure art, which, in the course of time, had become obscured by the accumulation of things," Malevich wrote. Moholy-Nagy interpreted Russian artistic ideas within the context of the Bauhaus (he became a faculty member in 1923) and incorporated aspects of them into his teaching. In this work, titled "Suprematistic" to acknowledge the influence of Malevich, the painted surface—no longer bound by the rules of traditional pictorial perspective—provides an opportunity for what Moholy-Nagy called "the primal human reaction to color, light and form."

Gallery label from 2011.
Oil on canvas
37 1/2 x 37 1/2" (95.2 x 95.2 cm)
The Riklis Collection of McCrory Corporation
Object number
© 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Painting and Sculpture

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Provenance Research Project

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

[Galerie Klihm, Munich, by 1961] [1]. Acquired by the McCrory Corporation (Meshulam Riklis), by 1977 [2]; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1983 (The Riklis Collection of McCrory Corporation).
[1] Likely on loan from Klihm to the exhibition Moholy-Nagy, Kunsthalle Mannheim, July 14-August 13, 1961 (no. 19). Also lender to the exhibition Moholy-Nagy, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, January 20-March 5, 1967 (no. A17).
[3] Included in the exhibition Aspekte Konstruktiver Kunst Aspekte Konstruktiver Kunst: Sammlung MccCrory Corporation, Kunsthaus Zurich, January 14 to February 27, 1977 (no. 119). See also Rotzler, Willy, ed. Constructivism and the Geometric Tradition: Selections from the McCrory Corporation Collection. Buffalo: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1979 (no. 132).

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