Lucia Moholy

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Self-portrait, 1930.
Born January 18, 1894(1894-01-18)
Prague, Austria-Hungary
Died May 17, 1989(1989-05-17) (aged 95)
Zurich, Switzerland
Johannes Zabel / Lucia Moholy (Photo), Photograph of a Study in Balance, 1923/24. In order to encourage an awareness of aesthetics and the properties of materials, Moholy-Nagy had his preliminary course students construct e.g. studies in balance. In order to avoid creating shadows while photographing, Lucia Moholy placed Zabel’s study in balance on a glass plate. In front of an undefined dark background, the stabilising wires become almost invisible, while an artificial light source literally lights up the elements that float in perfect balance, thereby bringing their spatial impact to the fore. [1]

Lucia Moholy, born Lucia Schulz, (1894—1989) was a photographer and first wife of artist and fellow photographer László Moholy-Nagy.

Life and work[edit]

This section is sourced from

In 1912, Lucia Schulz qualified as a German and English teacher and moved on to university, studying art history and philosophy in Prague. From 1915 to 1918, she worked as an editor and copy editor for a number of publishing houses, including Hyperion and Kurt Wolff in Berlin. In 1919, she stayed in Heinrich Vogeler’s Barkenhoff in Worpswede near Bremen. She published Expressionist literature under the pseudonym Ulrich Steffen. In 1920, she became editor of the publishing house Rowohlt in Berlin. The following year (January 18), she married László Moholy-Nagy, who would go on to become a Bauhaus master. From 1922 to 1923, they worked together in the field of experimental photography.

With her husband appointed to the Bauhaus Weimar in 1923, Moholy began an apprenticeship in one of its photography studios and at the same time photographed objects produced in the Bauhaus workshops for publications. From 1923 to 1925, she worked as a freelance photographer at the Bauhaus Weimar, resuming the same post at the Bauhaus Dessau from 1925 to 1928. From 1925 to 1926, she studied photographic and printing techniques at the Akademie für grafische Künste und Buchgewerbe Leipzig [Academy of Visual Arts]. Her important works from this period include a comprehensive photo series on the new Bauhaus Building and the Masters’ Houses in Dessau for the press and for the Bauhaus Books, which established her as an authentic voice in the process of documenting the Bauhaus by 1928. During this period, she also produced photographs of objects made in the workshops and portrait series of the Bauhaus’s teachers and friends.

After leaving the Bauhaus in 1928, she worked with the photographic agency Mauritius and was represented at the Deutscher Werkbund [German Work Federation] exhibition Film und Foto in Stuttgart in 1929. She separated from her husband the same year. As the successor of Otto Umbehr (Umbo), she was hired as a specialist subject teacher for photography at Johannes Itten’s school in Berlin. In 1933, she emigrated via Prague, Vienna and Paris to London and worked there as a portrait photographer and author. In the following years, she directed documentary films for numerous important archives and UNESCO projects in the Near and Middle East. After relocating to Switzerland in 1959, she worked in publishing, focusing on art criticism and art education, and participated in many exhibitions.


  • with László Moholy-Nagy, "Produktion-Reproduktion", De Stijl 5:7, Jul 1922, pp 98-101. (German)
    • "Production-Reproduction", in Moholy-Nagy, ed. Andreas Haus. New York: Pantheon, 1978.
    • "Production-Reproduction", in Moholy-Nagy, ed. Krisztina Passuth, New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985, pp 289-290.
  • A Hundred Years of Photography, 1839-1939, Middlesex, England: Harmondsworth, 1939.
    • 寫眞百年史/Shashin hyakunenshi, trans. Yoshirō Eguchi, Tōkyō-shi [Tokyo]: Ikuseisha, 1940. (Japanese)
    • Cento anni di fotografia: 1839-1939, trans. Angelo Maggi anf Italo Zannier, Florence: Alinari 24 ore, 2008. (Italian)
  • "Internationale Avantgarde 1927-1929", Du: Kulturelle Monatsschrift 24:3, 1964, pp 76-78. (German)
  • "El Lissitzky", Das Werk: Architektur und Kunst 53:6, 1966, pp 229-236. (German)
    • "El Lissitzky", trans. Jordan Troeller, October 172, MIT Press, Spring 2020, pp 111-116.
  • "Das Bauhaus-Bild", Das Werk: Architektur und Kunst 55:6, 1968, pp 397-402. (German)
  • "Fragen der Interpretation", in Bauhaus und Bauhäusler: Bekenntnisse und Erinnerungen, ed. Eckhard Neumann, Bern: Hallwag, 1971, pp 169-178; repr., 1985. (German)
    • "Questions of Interpretation", trans. Eva Richter and Alba Lorman, in Bauhaus and Bauhaus People: Personal Opinions and Recollections of Former Bauhaus Members and Their Contemporaries, rev. ed., ed. Eckhard Neumann, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993, pp 237-246. Trans. of the 1985 German edition.
    • "Questions of Interpretation", trans. Jordan Troeller, October 172, MIT Press, Spring 2020, pp 125-134. Trans. of the 1971 German edition.
  • Marginalien zu Moholy-Nagy, Krefeld: Scherpe, 1972. (German)


  • Rolf Sachsse, Lucia Moholy. Bauhaus-Fotografin, Berlin: Bauhaus-Archiv, 1995. (German)
  • Sabine Hartmann, "Lucia Moholy − Bauhaus-Fotografin", Museums Journal (Berlin) 2, 1995. (German)
  • Mercedes Valdivieso, "Eine 'symbiotische Arbeitsgemeinschaft' und die Folgen - Lucia und László Moholy-Nagy", in: Liebe Macht Kunst. Künstlerpaare im 20. Jahrhundert, ed. R. Berger, Cologne/Weimar/Vienna, 2000, pp 65-85. (German)
  • Lutz Schöbe (ed.), Bauhaus. Fotografie aus der Sammlung der Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Florenz, 2004. (German)
  • Anja Baumhoff, "Zwischen Kunst und Technik. Lucia Moholy und die Entwicklung der modernen Produktfotografie", in Klassik und Avantgarde. Das Bauhaus in Weimar 1919-1925. Jahrbuch der Klassik Stiftung Weimar 2009, eds. Hellmut Th. Seemann and Thorsten Valk, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2009, pp 169-184. (German)
  • Lucia Moholy (1894-1989): Tra fotografia e vita / Between Photography and Life, Milan: Silvana, 2012, 191 pp. Catalogue; texts by Angela Madesani, Nicoletta Ossanna Cavadini, Angelo Maggi, Stefania Schibeci, Antonello Negri. [2] (Italian)/(English)
  • Helen Trompeteler, "National Portrait Gallery / Lucia Moholy", Photomonitor, Sep 2012.
  • Robin Schuldenfrei, "Images in Exile: Lucia Moholy's Bauhaus Negatives and the Construction of the Bauhaus Legacy", History of Photography 37:2, 2013, pp 182-203.
  • Jordan Troeller, "Lucia Moholy's Idle Hands", October 172, MIT Press, Spring 2020, pp 68-108.

See also[edit]