Color study (Pink arch and glass block), 1939/1946

Photo: Courtesy of the artist / Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

Fujicolor crystal archive print
27.9 x 35.6 cm

Color study (Pink arch and glass block) belonged to the estate of publisher Paul Theobald. That they were in his possession may be an indication for László Moholy-Nagy's original plan to include them as illustrations in his theoretical legacy, the book Vision in Motion. What seems like sheet lightning here is actually the configuration of an experiment for analyzing the effects of color and light on various surfaces. Developing small apparatuses to create colorful light paintings was one of the assignments for students at the School of Design: celluloid strips of different colors could be inserted into steel frames. Depending on the positions of the frames, a metal light modulator bent like a bowl, and the light source, fantastic, multicolored light reflections appeared on the wall of the otherwise darkened studio. The series may have been a configuration of an experiment on Moholy-Nagy's path to creating color photograms. He planned to make them on "Gaspar-color paper". In the 1930s, Agfa produced copies of films for distribution for Dr. Béla Gaspar's "Gasparcolor Naturwahre Farbenfilm GmbH" in Berlin. However, Gaspar's inventive creativity was barely furthered by the large corporations in the USA. Either (Gaspar and Moholy-Nagy) never actually cooperated, contrary to the announcement, or the results were lost; not a single color photogram by Moholy-Nagy is known. – Jeannine Fiedler

*1895 in Bácsborsód, Hungary I † 1946 in Chicago, USA