László Moholy-Nagy - Watercolor N° 2

László Moholy-Nagy - Watercolor N° 2 - image-1
László Moholy-Nagy - Watercolor N° 2 - image-1

László Moholy-Nagy

Watercolor N° 2

Watercolour and pen and ink over pencil on watercolour laid paper 36.3 x 46.6 cm Framed under glass. Signed and dated 'Moholy=Nagy 46 aug.' in black lower left. - In fine condition with vibrant colours.

With its intense colours, “Watercolor N° 2”, dated August 1946, is one of the last works László Moholy-Nagy made. He had lived in Chicago from 1938 onwards, where he was director first of the New Bauhaus and then of the School of Design he founded as its successor organization. Health problems strongly restricted his activities as of the end of 1944 - both as an artist and as a teacher. As a result, he started producing drawings and watercolours in comparatively small formats.
“Ideas crop up, disappear, or return in new constellations. Like a virtuoso player who has learned to master all the possibilities his instrument offers him, Moholy was able to play freely with the basic elements of his art.” (Sybil Moholy-Nagy, in: László Moholy-Nagy. Farbige Zeichnungen 1941-1946, exhib. cat. Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin, 1972, unpaginated). He used colour fields, lines, frames and structures to compose an image microcosm that while completely abstract nevertheless exhibit echoes of the profound themes with which Moholy-Nagy had concerned himself. He was deeply shocked by the horrors of World War II, which from the early 1940s also became the reality of life in America, his place of exile. At the same time he was forced to struggle with leukemia, an illness he tried to address emotionally by developing a close interest in scientific hematological details. Despite the overpowering drama and somberness of these topics, the works he produced in his closing years possess a serene calm with their harmonious colours and compositions that have withdrawn into themselves.


We would like to thank Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, for scientific advice .


Galerie Beyeler, Basel (inv.no. 7227, label on frame backing card); Bill Bass, Chicago (label on frame backing card); Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne; Private collection, Switzerland


Chicago/Santa Barbara/Berkeley/Seattle/New York 1969/1970 (Museum of Contemporary Art/Santa Barbara Museum of Art/University Art Museum/Seattle Art Museum/The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, cat. no. 113 (two labels on frame backing card)

Lot 258 Nα

30.000 € - 50.000 €

52.080 €