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László Moholy-Nagy. Malerei, Fotografie, Film. 2. ed. München: Albert Langen, 1927 (Bauhausbücher; 8)

“Book production was always a part of the Bauhaus programme, and Moholy-Nagy was co-editor with Gropius  of a number of monographs explaining the school’s philosophies. In 1925 he wrote Bauhausbücher 8, Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film), one of the most renowned of the series. It became the primary manifesto for the experimental wing of European modernist photography, burying the bourgeois sentimentality in which pictorial photography was rooted, and establishing what was termed the Neue Optik (New Vision). The New Vision was based on the appliance of optical science and objectivity to photography, with little of the transcendentalism that marked American modernism, though Moholy-Nagy’s motives were more pedagogical than political.”

Martin Parr, Gerry Badger. The photobook: a history, volume 1. London: Phaidon, 2004 (p. 86)

The most striking constant feature is the standarized format of 18x23 centimeters each with a type area of 13,5x17 centimeters. The books were designed under considerable time and money constraints. In addition, there was a constant lack of typesetting material, especially for grotesque/sans serif lettering and means of production. This deficiency is manifested, for example, by the fact that fonts were occasionally mixed as well, and this to the extent that there was no longer material available from the font originally used. The typographic style is characterized by a strong contrast between headings, accentuation, body, pagination, and captions. In this way Moholy-Nagy tried to achieve various surface effects on the pages of the book. Each of the 14 volumes was available both as a low-budget brochure version and in a slightly more expensive bound version with a dust jacket that had the same design as the cover of the brochure (…) The cover designs does not follow any dedicated design guidelines in terms of composition, but the design of the linen covers under the dust jackets does. They are all yellow and are decorated with red embossings for the title, the number of the volume and one or more orthogonal lines. Increasing inflation and the currency reform in 1923 led to the closure of the school’s internal Bauhaus-Verlag (Bauhaus publishing house), which is why all Bauhaus Books were finally published by the Albert Langen publishing house in Munich.

Johannes Rinkenburger. Visions of the Bauhaus Books. Salenstein: Niggli, 2019 (p. 19-20)

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