CHRONOLOGY
1905
SZEGED, HUNGARY
Begins secondary school in the town of Szeged.
1911
SZEGED, HUNGARY
Some of his early poems are published in the Szeged daily newspapers.
1913
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
Enrolls as a law student at the University of Budapest.
1915
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ARMY
Enlists in the Austro-Hungarian Army as an artillery officer. During his wartime service, he makes colored sketches, many on postcards, some of which he sends to his family and friends. He also documents his war experiences in watercolor and crayon drawings, depicting wounded and fallen soldiers and barbed wire landscapes.
1917
RUSSIAN FRONT
He is wounded on the Russian Front. After his convalescence in Budapest he goes on reserve status.Publishes poems, short stories and book reviews in the short-lived literary magazine Jelenkor (The Present Time) founded by Iván Hevesy and others, until it is discontinued the following year.
1918
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
After his discharge from the army, he abandons his law studies to become an artist. Attends evening classes in life drawing at a free art school in Budapest. Studies the Old Masters, identifies with German Expressionism and the Russian avant-garde. Exhibits for the first time with other artists, showing watercolours at the National Salon, Budapest. Comes into contact with Hungarian avant-garde artists.
1919
BERLIN, GERMANY
In March he is included in an exhibition at the Mücsarnok (Hall of Art). Moves to Szeged in August where he works as an artist in a studio community with the Activist sculptor, Sándor Gergely, with whom he exhibits in November.
At the end of the year, he moves to Vienna where he stays for six weeks. Here he socializes with the Ma artists group centered around Lajos Kassák. He is influenced by the Cubist-Expressionist work of his friends, Lajos Tihanyi and Sándor Bortnyik.
1920
BERLIN, GERMANY
Moves to Berlin at the beginning of the year.
He receives help from the German and American Quakers working in Berlin.
Makes contact with German Dadaists and Der Sturm (The Storm) Gallery.
Meets Lucia Schulz in April, who studied art history and philosophy in Prague and has a keen interest in photography.
Development of material collages for first Constructivist works, including Glasarchitektur-Bilder (Glass Architecture Pictures). In October his work is included in an exhibition at Galerie Fritz Gurlitt in Berlin.
1921
BERLIN, GERMANY
Marries Lucia Schulz in January.
Horizont, a collection of his Dadaist art, is published by Ma.
1920/1922 sees the conception of Moholy-Nagy's own form of Constructivism.
In April, he is made the Berlin representative for Ma, a post he holds until 1925.
1921/22 he begins writing the film scenario for "Dynamic of the Metropolis", published in Ma in Hungarian in 1924, and later in German in Volume 8 in the Bauhaus Books Series, Malerei Photografie Film (Painting, Photography, Film).
1922
GERMANY
In February he exhibits with László Péri at the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. His work includes paintings and metal sculptures and 'Reliefs' made of found objects of glass, wood and metal.
Creates the so-called Telephone pictures, five works of enamel on steel reproduced by machine.
Moholy meets Walter Gropius, who visits his Sturm exhibition.
Reproduction of his works in the 1 May celebratory issue of Ma.
In May attends the "First International Congress for Progressive Artists" in Düsseldorf as representative of the Ma group.
Attends the Dadaists' and Constructivists' conference in Weimar.
Strongly influenced by Kurt Schwitters who is co-organiser of the Constructivist artists' meetings in Hanover.
Spends the summer in the Rhön with his wife, Lucia, where he is inspired to begin making photograms, which he produces with her help and knowledge of photography. These first photograms are made in daylight on copying-out paper.
The article “Produktion-Reproduktion” is published in De Stijl in July.
First sketches of the Light Space Modulator, which is exhibited in 1930.
Publishes together with Lajos Kassák A könyve új müvészek (The Book of New Artists) in Hungarian and German, an anthology of modern art and poetry published in Ma.
December - together with Alfred Kemény writes the manifesto “Dynamisch-konstruktives Kraftsystem” (Constructive System of Forces) published in Der Sturm.
1923
WEIMAR, GERMANY
February - second Sturm exhibition with László Péri.
Exhibits at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover.
Publication of the Kestner-portfolio Nr. 6 (six lithographs).
Invited by Gropius to the Staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar in March; he takes over the foundation course from Johannes Itten and the metal workshop from Paul Klee, bringing a new Constructivist direction to the Bauhaus.
Publishes linoleum and woodcuts in Der Sturm.
In the 1920s publishes extensively on photography, typography, new arrangements in music and light composition.
In August and September participates in the Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar.
1924
WEIMAR, GERMANY
February - third Sturm exhibition with Hugo Scheiber, including five Telephone Pictures.
Participates in the Sturm section of the First German Art Exhibition in Moscow.
Collaboration with Oskar Schlemmer and Farkas Molnár in theatre, dance and ballet stage design; also works in architectural and mural design.
Plans a series of Bauhaus newsletters, a project not realised. Starts work with Gropius on the Bauhaus Books series, with 50 volumes originally planned.
In addition to the traditional technique of painting on canvas, he starts to use synthetic materials such as aluminium, celluloid, and opaque plastics.
Experiments with photo collages, which he calls Photoplastics.
1925
DESSAU, GERMANY
In March has his final exhibition at Der Sturm.
Moves with the Bauhaus to Dessau.
The first Bauhaus Books are published. By 1930 fourteen volumes have appeared. Moholy-Nagy designs all but three volumes.
Publication of the book, Die Bühne im Bauhaus (The theatre of the Bauhaus) with F. Molnár and O. Schlemmer as Volume 4 of the Bauhaus Books series. This work includes the conceived idea of a Theatre of Totality and the essay "Theater, Zirkus, Varieté"; also the vision of a theatre of form, movement, tone, light, colour and odors in the form of a Partiturskizze zu einer mechanischen Exzentrik.
Volume 8 of the Bauhaus Books series, Painting Photography Film, which was solely written by Moholy-Nagy, includes hers the scenario for the film, "Dynamik der Großstadt."
Writes a film script, “Huhn bleibt Huhn” (Once a Chicken Always a Chicken), 1925-30.
1926
DESSAU, GERMANY
Publishes several important essays in Dessau.
Continues to perfect his photograms, now made in a darkroom with controlled lighting.
Exhibits with the Abstract Section of the Experimental Art show at the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin.
Included in the Société Anonyme exhibition held at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, from November to January.
One-man show at the Fides Gallery in Dresden.
1927
DESSAU, GERMANY
Together with J. J. Oud and W. Piper he participates in the founding of the magazine i10, for which he is the film and photography editor.
Participates in Mannheim in the exhibition Wege und Richtungen der abstrakten Malerei Europas (Ways and Directions of Abstract Painting in Europe).
1928
BERLIN, GERMANY
In spring, along with Gropius and others, he resigns from the Bauhaus. He returns to Berlin where he remains until 1934, working as a commercial artist, typographer, and independent curator.
In February and March is included in an exhibition at Johannes Itten's private art school in Berlin.
1929
BERLIN, GERMANY
Separates from Lucia.
Further involvement in exhibition, stage and costume design.
Hired as the stage designer at the Berlin Kroll Opera and at Erwin Piscator's political theatre.
Three year design contract for the cover design of the fashion magazine Die Neue Linie (Leipzig/Berlin).
Makes the film, Marseille Vieux Port, one of seven surviving short films made by 1936.
His second, solely authored volume for the Bauhaus Books series, Von Material zu Architektur (From Material to Architecture), is published as voume 14. It presents Bauhaus pedagogy.
He is involved in the selection of works for the Stuttgart Werkbund (arts and crafts society) exhibition, Film und Foto, where he exhibits 97 of his photographs.
He participates with the Novembergruppe in the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung (Great Berlin Art Exhibition).
1930
BERLIN, GERMANY
He designs a room for the German section of the exhibition "20e Salon des Artistes Décorateurs Français" in the Grand Palais in Paris, organised by the Deutsche Werkbund from May through July. First presentation of the Lichtrequisit einer elektrischen Bühne (the Light Space Modulator, nicknamed The Light Machine), a kinetic sculpture sponsored by the Berlin AEG and made by their theatrical department with the collaboration of Stephan Sebök and Hugo Ball).
The Light Display Machine becomes the subject of his best-known film Lichtspiel schwarz weiss grau (Lightplay black white grey).
The commission for Alexander Dorner to design a Raum der Gegenwart (Room of the Present) in the Provinzialmuseum Hannover is not realized.
Publication by Franz Roh of 60 Photos, a book of Moholy-Nagy's photographic work.
January and February participates in an exhibition of avant-garde posters in Munich, which travels to Budapest in April.
His works are included in two exhibitions in Stockholm and an exhibition of Socialist Art Today in Amsterdam.
By this date Moholy-Nagy has made many international contacts through his extensive travels in Europe since the mid-twenties.
From 1930 through 1936 he participates in the Maison de les Artistes, a salon organized every summer by Madame Hélène de Mandrot at her husband's castle in La Sarraz, Switzerland.
1931
BERLIN, GERMANY
Exhibition design with Herbert Bayer for the Deutsche Bundesausstellung (National German Exhibition) in Berlin.
Completes the film Berliner Stilleben (Berlin Still Life).
In March his photographs are included in the Exhibition of Foreign Advertising Photography in New York City.
In summer he makes a long trip to Scandinavia and visits Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
In October the Delphic Studios in New York exhibits his photographs.
During the winter of 1931/1932 he meets Sibylle Pietzsch in Berlin. She becomes his second wife.
1932
BERLIN, GERMANY
Films Tönendes ABC (Sound ABC) and Großstadt Zigeuner (Big City Gypsies).
Makes contact with the Abtraction-Création group in Paris.
An English language edition of Von Material zu Architektur is published in the United States as The New Vision.
He participates in two exhibitions at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York: Surrealism and Modern European Photography.
1933
BERLIN, GERMANY
In February his photographs are included in an exhibition at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Gallery in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Also in February his film, Lightplay black white gray, is shown by Julien Levy in New York. Moholy-Nagy also shows this film in conjunction with a lecture at the Film Society in Amsterdam.
In the summer he participates in the 4th meeting of the CIAM (Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne/Congress for Modern Architecture), which is held in Greece on a boat on the Aegean Sea. He films the meeting as the documentary, Architekturkongress (Architecture Congress).
1934
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Moves to Amsterdam and opens a design studio, where he takes commercial work including advertising, layouts, and exhibition design. Travels regularly to London to study color photographic processes to use in his advertising work.
Publishes articles on the role of art in industrial society. In June has a solo exhibition with the Abstraction-Création group in Paris.
Lichtspiel is shown in Finland.
Shows four short films in Den Haag in October.
1935
LONDON, ENGLAND
Moves to London, where he remains until 1937. Works as a commercial artist with György Kepes.
Does interior design and display at Simpson's Piccadilly and the re-design of the advertisement material, from letterhead to poster layout to leaflet, for Imperial Airways, as well as the design of a travelling exhibition in a train wagon, and a poster commission for "London Transport".
Film commissions for Lobsters (1935) and New Architecture and the London Zoo (1936).
He begins to paint on transparent plastics.
Large retrospective exhibition organized by the Czech architect, Frantisek Kalivoida, in the Arts and Crafts School in Ceské Budejovice (Budweis), which travelled to the House of Artists in Brno (Brünn).
1936
LONDON, ENGLAND
Kalivoda devotes a special issue of the journal, Telehor, to Moholy-Nagy's work. This issue, the only one published, includes articles by Moholy-Nagy, Giedion, Kalivoda.
Participates in the Abstraction-Création group exhibition in Paris.
Designs special effects for Alexander Korda's film, Things to Come by H.G Wells, but they not used in the final version.
Designs invitations and posters for exhibitions at the London Gallery.
With Marcel Breuer designs the exhibitor's stand for Courtauld's at the London Arts and Crafts Fair.
March and April he participates in the Guggenheim Exhibition at Gibbs Memorial Art Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina.
Included in the Cubism and Abstract Art show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Made Honorary Member of the Art Societies of Oxford and Cambridge and the Design Institute, London.
He designs the dust jackets and photographs the illustrations for three books: The Street Markets of London by Mary Benedetta (1936), Eton Portrait by Bernard Fergusson (1937) and An Oxford University Chest by John Betjeman (1938).
1937
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
In January has a retrospective exhibition at the London Gallery.
Through Gropius Moholy-Nagy is appointed director of a design school in Chicago sponsored by the Association of Arts and Industries. He calls this school the New Bauhaus - American School of Design.
The New Bauhaus opens in October on Prairie Avenue.
Participates in the group show "Constructivists" in Basel in October.
His work is included in the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, Germany.
His work is included in an exhibition at the New Bauhaus in December.
1938
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
The New Bauhaus closes in June.
Moholy-Nagy returns to commercial work, which he continues to do intermittently for the duration of his life in Chicago.
He has a one-man exhibition at the Fine Arts Society in Jacksonville, Florida.
His work is included in the exhibition, Bauhaus 1919-1928, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
1939
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
In February he opens his own school, The School of Design in Chicago, on Ontario Street with the help of dedicated students and teachers.
In April and May his work is shown at the Renaissance Society in Chicago.
In November and December his work is included in the Société Anonyme/Museum of Modern Art exhibition in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Makes stationary and mobile sculptures of transparent plastic often combined with chromed metal.
1940
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
In January and February he has a one-man exhibition at the Katharine Kuh Gallery in Chicago.
In May and June he participates in the American Abstract Art exhibition at the Galerie St. Etienne in New York.
His work is included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Sixty Photographs.
The summer session of the School of Design is held at Mills College in Oakland, California. In July his work is included in the School of Design exhibition organized by the Mills College Art Gallery.
1941
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
With Nathan Lerner and György Kepes he designs a show for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on How to Make a Photogram. The show travels around the United States until 1943.
In April has a one-man exhibition at The Museum of Non-Objective Art: Art of Tomorrow, New York, which later becomes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
In October his work is included in The Advanced Guard of Advertising Photography at the Katharine Kuh Gallery.
In December his work is included in the Museum of Modern Art show, American Photography at $10.
Participates regularly in the Annual Exhibition of Chicago Artists at the Art Institute of Chicago through 1946.
1942
DENTON, TEXAS
In summer gives a course at the Women's Teachers College in Denton, Texas.
1943
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
Numerous publications on the subjects of design and photography.
Participates in the founding of the Hungarian American Council for Democracy and becomes president of the Chicago chapter until 1945.
Begins writing his last book, Vision in Motion, which presents his educational philosophy illustrated by the work of the Institute of Design.
1944
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
Reorganization of The School of Design as The Institute of Design.
May and June participates in the exhibition, Drawings by Contemporary Artists, at the Renaissance Society.
Completes "Design Workshops," a color film about the Institute of Design, as well as a number of shorter films about the activities of the school.
Campaigns among Hungarian-Americans for the re-election of President Franklin D, Roosevelt.
1945
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
In fall Moholy-Nagy is diagnosed with leukaemia.
The Institute of Design moves to temporary quarters on North State Street.
With Ralph Rapson designs an exhibition in Chicago for the U. S. Gypsum Company.
Makes the film, “Do Not Disturb,” with the film class of the Institute of Design.
1946
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
Retrospective exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Society at the Cincinnati Art Museum in February.
With Arthur Siegel organizes a six-week summer symposium, New Vision in Photography, at the Institute of Design.
Third edition of The New Vision appears together with an autobiographical essay, Abstract of an Artist.
During the last year of his life he produces photograms, photographs, color photographs, oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures of Plexiglas and metal. He gives seminars and makes conference visits.
In fall the Institute of Design moves to its own building on Dearborn Street.
In April he becomes an American citizen.
Moholy-Nagy dies of leukemia on 24 November in Chicago.
1947
UNITED STATES
Vision in Motion, is published posthumously.
In spring a large memorial exhibition organized by the S. R. Guggenheim Foundation opens at the Museum of Non-Objective Art, New York, and travels around the United States for two years.