Moholy-Nagy deckchairs

László Moholy-Nagy in Britain

Between the New Vision and the New Bauhaus 

László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) was defined by the British art historian Herbert Read as “one of the most creative intelligences of our time.” He was a painter, photographer and designer, as well as a theorist, and a talented and inspirational teacher. Born in Hungary, he moved to Berlin, where he established his career in the aftermath of the First World War. In 1923, at Walter Gropius’s invitation, he became the youngest teacher at the Bauhaus School in Dessau. Here he left his mark with his innovative ideas on art education and developed his revolutionary theory of the so-called New Vision. The theory asserted photography’s independent role from the other visual arts, with its own unique language based on the characteristics of the medium.

Following the Nazi’s rise to power, Moholy-Nagy moved to London in 1934. In the two years spent in Britain he achieved a remarkable body of work across many disciplines, working mostly on commission; among those who contributed to provide employment opportunities were some of the most important figures of the British architectural community, including John Betjeman, Leslie Martin, Jim Richards of the Architectural Review, and his friend and ex-Bauhaus colleague Walter Gropius. In the summer of 1937, disillusioned by the lack of prospects for teaching and encouraged by Gropius’s recent appointment at Harvard University, he left Britain for the United States, where he became director of a new design school in Chicago – initially called the New Bauhaus - and where he lived for the rest of his life.

This feature was written to complement the exhibition László Moholy-Nagy in Britain: Between the New Vision and the New Bauhaus at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place,  London, 1 October 2019 - 1 February 2020. The exhibition draws on the RIBA’s unique holdings to demonstrate both the range of his British work and the strong ties that were established between Moholy-Nagy and the British modernists; his constant engagement with the representation of space and his boundless creativity made him indeed an inspirational figure for architects, with whom he collaborated throughout his life.

To purchase the accompanying book see Moholy-Nagy in Britain: 1935-1937.

Article by Valeria Carullo 

1 3 4 5 6 ... 3526
105767 items
`RIBA105882Rolling Bridge, Paddington Basin, London: the bridge rolled up

 
RIBA2088Hillfield (House A), Whipsnade Zoo Estate, Whipsnade: the sun-catch

 
RIBA2093Fagus factory, Alfeld an der Leine, Lower Saxony


RIBA2187Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Hong Kong: first banking level reception area and atrium above

 
RIBA2478Battersea 'A' Power Station, London, by night

 
RIBA3066Designs for six circular badges showing birds


RIBA3067Designs for six circular badges showing flowers

 
RIBA3068Designs for six circular badges showing animals

 
RIBA3069Designs for six circular badges showing animals and flowers


RIBA3070Designs for six circular badges showing sea creatures and birds

 
RIBA3085Design for a beach house, California, for Rupert R. Ryan

 
RIBA3086Design for the river front of St Olaf House, Hay's Wharf, Tooley Street, Southwark, London


RIBA3091Design for the Odeon cinema, Leicester Square, London

 
RIBA3093Design for the interior of Fischer's Restaurant, New Bond Street, London

 
RIBA3316Unexecuted design for Frinton Hotel, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex


RIBA3318Marine Court, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex

 
RIBA3716Ronan Point, Clever Road, West Ham, London, after building collapse

 
RIBA3717Central Market Building, Covent Garden, London


RIBA3718Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

 
RIBA3719John Ruskin

 
RIBA3720Frank Lloyd Wright


RIBA3721Owen Jones

 
RIBA3722Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, seen from Brushfield Street

 
RIBA3723St Stephen Walbrook, City of London


RIBA12953Plan of Nottingham Castle

 
RIBA64332Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: students relaxing on the raked concrete benches by the east front entrance

 
RIBA64334Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: the entrance hall


RIBA84028Plan of Nottingham Castle

 
RIBA84030View of Nottingham Castle with gabled houses and a church at the bottom of the hill

 
RIBA84031View of the north face of Nottingham Castle: elevation


1 3 4 5 6 ... 3526