Grey Overlappings, László Moholy-Nagy
László Moholy-Nagy
Grey Overlappings
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László Moholy-Nagy

Grey Overlappings, 1930

400 x 298 mm
Physical Description
Tempera and pen in red over pencil on wove paper (watercolour paper)
Inventory Number
Object Number
17904 Z
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

Inspired by Russian Constructivism, Moholy-Nagy devoted himself exclusively to abstraction from the 1920s onwards. Drawn with the aid of a ruler and compass, the lines and shapes create a precise scaffolding for the composition, while the raw paper lends it vibrant structure. The geometrical forms overlap and their colour gradations suggest spatiality and transparency. Moholy-Nagy believed that 'mathematically harmonious shapes, executed precisely, … represent the perfect balance between feeling and intellect'.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

Work Data

Basic Information

Grey Overlappings
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Tempera and pen in red over pencil on wove paper (watercolour paper)
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unten rechts (mit Bleistift): Moholy-Nagy 30
Verso signiert und datiert unten rechts (mit Bleistift): L. Moholy-Nagy / 30
  • Nicht vorhanden

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 0 Abstract, Non-representational Art
  • 49D43 prism ~ stereometry
  • 49D32 line (~ planimetry, geometry)
  • 49D36 circle (~ planimetry, geometry)
  • 22C4(GREY) colours, pigments, and paints (GREY)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Galerie Klihm, München
verkauft an Karl Ströher (1890-1977), Darmstadt
Nachlass Karl Ströher, 1977
an seine Enkelin Ulrike Crespo (1950-2019), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2019.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

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