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László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy: THE NEW VISION: FUNDAMENTALS OF DESIGN, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, ARCHITECTURE. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1938 [The New Bauhaus Books Series  1: Gropius and Moholy-Nagy, series editors]. First edition thus. Quarto. Oatmeal cloth stamped in blue. 208 pp. 221 black and white photographs and text illustrations. Outstanding Book Design and Typography by the author. Cloth lightly soiled. Former owners signature to front endpaper. Faint sunning to textblock edges, otherwise a very good copy.

7.75 x 10.25 hardcover book with 208 pages and 221 black and white photographs and text illustrations of art, architecture, sculpture, displays, movie sets, furniture, etc.  "Revised and enlarged edition" (title page verso) of the original 1930 American imprint (Spalek #3819; see Freitag #6626, giving the date as 1932), with a new foreword, plus index, Spalek #3820.

An amazing book that expands upon Moholy-Nagy's 1928 treatsie The New Vision (originally published as Bauhausbuch 14). Moholy's treatsie on modern design was intended to inform laymen and artists about the basic elements of Bauhaus education and the merging of theory and design. This volume also served as a remarkably effective self-promotional tool as Moholy-Nagy tried to re-establish the Bauhaus in Chicago as the New Bauhaus, and subsequently as the Institute of Design.

One of Chicago's great cultural achievements, the Institute of Design was among the most important schools of photography in twentieth-century America. It began as an outpost of experimental Bauhaus education and was home to an astonishing group of influential teachers and students.

  • foreword
  • introduction
  • preliminaries
  • the material (surface treatment, painting)
  • volume (sculpture)
  • space (architecture)
  • index

The list of artists included in this volume reads like a veritable rosetta stone of the modern movement: Joseph Albers, Alexander Archipenko, Hans Arp, Herbert Bayer, Giacomo Balla, Peter Behrens, Constantin Brancusi, Jean Cocteau, Le Corbusier, Theo Van Doesburg, Max Ernst, Albert Gleizes, Naum Gabo, Walter Gropius, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, Barbara Hepworth, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Gorgy Kepes, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, El Lissitzky, Kasimir Malevich, Man Ray, F. T. Marinetti, Mies Van Der Rohe, Piet Mondrian, Henry Moore, J.J.P. Oud,  Pablo Picasso, Alexander Rodchenko, Oscar Schlemmer, Joost Schmidt, Kurt Schwitters, Frank Lloyd Wrightand many others.

From the Foreword: "The New Vision was written to inform laymen and artists about the basic elements of the Bauhaus education: the merging of theory and practice in design.

"America is the bearer of a new civilization whose task is simultaneously to cultivate and to industrialize a continent. It is the ideal ground on which to work out an educational principle which strives for the closest connection between art, science, and technology.

"To reach this objective one of the problems of Bauhaus education is to keep alive in grown-ups the child’s sincerity of emotion, his truth of observation, his fantasy and his creativeness. That is why the Bauhaus does not employ a rigid teaching system. Teachers and students in close collaboration are bound to find new ways of handling materials, tools and machines for their designs.

"This book contains an extract of the work in our preliminary course, which naturally develops from day to day while practiced.

"The work of the Bauhaus would be too limited if this preliminary course served only Bauhaus students; they, through constant contact with instructors and practical workshop experience, are least in need of its record in book form. More important – one might say that the essential for the success of the Bauhaus idea is the education of our contemporaries outside of the Bauhaus. It is the public which must understand and aid in furthering the work of designers coming from the Bauhaus if their creativeness is to yield the best results for the community.

"To prepare this understanding is the main task of The New Vision. It is my hope that it will stimulate those are interested in art, research, design and education."

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) was born in Bacsbarsod, Hungary. Injured during World War I, he turned to painting and made contact with the Budapest avant-garde in 1918. In 1922, Maholy-Nagy participated in the International Dada-Constructivist Congress in Weimar and began experiments in photography with his wife Lucia. Appointed master at the Bauhaus in 1923, he made his first film, Berliner Stilleden, in 1926. Although always a painter and designer, Moholy-Nagy became a key figure in photography in Germany in the 1920's. In 1928 Moholy-Nagy left the Bauhaus and traveled to Amsterdam and London. His teachings and publications of photographic experimentations were crucial to the international development of the New Vision. In 1937 he was invited to found the New Bauhaus in Chicago by the Association of Arts and Industries. Moholy-Nagy served as teacher and director there from 1937 until his death in 1946.