Florence Henri

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.

Date:

1927

Artist:

Lucia Moholy
English, born Bohemia, 1894–1989

About this artwork

In 1923 Lucia Moholy, who had studied photographic technique in the previous decade, began a photography apprenticeship at the Bauhaus, where her husband, László Moholy-Nagy, had recently been appointed instructor. She quickly adopted a modernist approach focused on portraiture and architectural views. Lucia Moholy believed that the face and hands conveyed the true character of a sitter, and she made a series of portrait pairs in the 1920s isolating these two parts of the body. During her five years at the Bauhaus, Moholy also chronicled the German art school’s buildings, design products, faculty, and student body. French-American artist Florence Henri took a summer painting course at the Bauhaus, but on her return to France she abandoned her brush for the camera; Moholy photographed her several times during the course of their friendship. This close-cropped, direct portrait fits with the sobriety of the growing New Objectivity movement in photography and painting, and it echoes a vogue for close-up film stills that had just begun in Germany.
— Permanent collection label

Formally trained in reproduction photography, Lucia Moholy worked at the Bauhaus as a documentarian of its myriad productions—from architectural projects to modern design objects. With the spare aesthetic that she used in documentary photographs, Moholy also made portraits of Bauhaus students and friends, some as publicity but others, including this work, for more personal ends. Moholy often utilized plain backgrounds and preferred her subjects to be closely cropped in an asymmetrical balance. This approach is evident in her view of Florence Henri, who came to Dessau in 1927 to audit courses in painting. Henri benefited from Moholy’s expertise and the general Bauhaus proclivity toward photography; after moving to Paris, she too concentrated on camera work, especially portraiture.

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Photography

Artist

Lucia Moholy

Title

Florence Henri

Origin

England

Date

1927

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

37 × 27.8 cm

Credit Line

Julien Levy Collection, Gift of Jean and Julien Levy

Reference Number

1975.1141

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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