what’s new

Sam Francis Online CR Launched

A new “living catalogue raisonné” embraces the creative spirit of Sam Francis

One of the twentieth century’s leading interpreters of light and color, American artist Sam Francis (1923–1994) was one of the first post-World War II painters to develop an international reputation. A truly international artist, he maintained studios in Bern, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, and his work references New York Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French Impressionism, and his own Bay Area roots. Francis created thousands of paintings as well as works on paper, prints, and monotypes, which are housed in major museum collections and institutions around the world.

On April 18th the Sam Francis Foundation released the inaugural stage of Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project – Unique Works on Paper and Expanded Version of Canvas and Panel Paintings 1945–1949.

SFCR is an interactive digital platform that presents for the first time unique works on paper and new information compiled by Editor Debra Burchett-Lere, Project Manager Beth Ann Whittaker, Contributors Leila Elliott and Stephanie Velazquez, and a team of photography editors, who have conducted extensive research with the Sam Francis Foundation’s in-house archives as well as the Getty Research Institute’s holdings. Embracing the artist’s creative and innovative spirit, the “living catalogue raisonné” will be amended regularly, both with new entries and with updates to existing pages, which will be time-stamped as they are modified. “We are thrilled to launch this first volume of Sam Francis’s digital catalogue raisonné, SFCR, which highlights the latest and most exhaustive research on the artist available to anyone, anywhere,” says Debra Burchett-Lere, Director of the Sam Francis Foundation. “It furthers the Foundation’s mission as it enables the international audience, to whom Francis was so significant, to access his vast oeuvre and learn new information about him as it is being discovered.”

Above:
SFF4.61 (Francis Archive SF48-002)
Untitled [Berkeley] 1948
Watercolor on paper
48.26 x 65.41 cm (19 x 25 3/4 in.)
INSCRIPTIONS: Reported to be signed, dated and inscribed in pencil on verso: Sam Francis 1948 Berkeley
ADDITIONAL NOTATIONS: Notated by studio assistant with the Litho Shop identification number and
an inventory number on blond wood frame verso: SF48-002 S4-33G
Stamped with the Sam Francis Estate logo stamp on verso
CREATION LOCATION: San Francisco Bay Area (Berkeley)
COLLECTION: Collection of Judith Ann Corrente, New York

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We at panOpticon are extremely proud that the Sam Francis Online Catalogue Raisonné Project uses our unique information management system to power it’s online project.

Starting a catalogue raisonné project? Already have data and wondering what to do next? Simply have a question? Email us at enquire@panopticondesign.net.

The best way to fully grasp what our product can do is to see it in action. Fill out a form to request a demonstration. We can come to you if you are in New York City. If not, we can demonstrate our software online. We’ll show it to you wherever you are.

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scholarship depends on good data

researchers curate data so that
scholars may address the challenges that face us all

The leading Tom Thomson scholar, Joan Murray was responsible for bringing the paintings of this visionary Canadian painter to world’s attention through a series of exhibitions and books, including a biography. She has prepared a full-scale catalogue raisonné of his work, a project which took her close to forty years. (read more about Joan)

“In 1970, I began this catalogue raisonné of Thomson’s work and I have continued it until 2009. As I worked, I became convinced that Thomson’s achievement had the almost too classic prerequisites of greatness: an indelible yet flexible visual style that extended the past, reflected its own time, and stayed fresh and relevant as it moved into the future. During these decades, I found that what I considered the value of his work changed for me. At times Thomson’s enormous gifts for colour and composition, bolstered by an underlying urgency, seemed most pertinent to the triumphant progress of Abstraction, and to Expressionism, as it once again became part of the stylistic mix of younger artists. Later, the life he lived in nature came to seem of importance: I noticed that many contemporary artists embraced the landscape almost as part of their calling.

“From 1970 on, I had the work of Thomson in private collections brought into the Art Gallery of Ontario to be photographed. In examining this material, and the Gallery collection of works by Thomson, I found myself fascinated with the inscriptions (often written by Dr. J.M. MacCallum, Thomson’s great patron and friend), on the backs of works and I began to believe they were important to the record. After I left the Gallery and became Director of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa from 1974 to 2000, and afterwards, I continued to record Thomson inscriptions and labels wherever I could, especially in works as they appeared at auction and in private collections. Even in 2009, incredibly it seemed to me, genuine Thomsons came my way to be recorded. Like every cataloguer who attempts omnipotence, the discovery of this work helped me realize my shortcomings. I would like to believe that I have included all the works by Tom Thomson that exist, but I realize that the field is open. New material will show up with time.”

Tom Thomson Catalogue Raisonné, Researched and written by Joan Murray

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Above: Tom Thomson
Round Lake, Mud Bay
Fall 1915
Alternate titles: Geese, Round Lake, Mud Bay
Oil on wood
8 7/16 x 10 5/16 in. (21.5 x 26.2 cm)
Inscription recto: l.r., Tom Thomson / 15 (incised) Inscription verso: u.l., in ink, by Mrs. Frank Cooper, Round Lake, Mud Bay / Painted as the First Flock of of [sic] / Geese flew back from the South [crossed out] North / Painting By The World’s Best Artist / Tom Thomson “1915″ He was Drowned at / Algonquin park July 8th 1916 [sic]; incised on frame (in 1970); Cat. 86; label, Art Gallery of Toronto, J.S. McLean
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (L69.51)

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the reasoned catalogue realized

collect, analyze and share  the value of data lies in their use

Provenance researchers who archive online using panOpticon are raising the bar for their teams as well as for their communities. As a consequence, an ecosystem of controlled review and exchange is beginning to develop in the art industry.

For the first time curators, writers, historians, teachers, students, appraisers, wealth managers, galleries, museums, libraries, archives, auction houses, collectors, insurers, educational institutions, estates, foundations, artists, and others invested in this vast territory are able to share credible information and give feedback to one another.

The results of these efforts are no longer static collections of records and documents to be occasionally referenced by a few, but are instead, organic processes that play a dynamic and public role in both the appreciation and the business of art.

Leverage data as soon as they are usable — usability means traceable chains of evidence.

Starting a project of your own? Already have data and wondering what to do next?
Simply have a question? Contact us.

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Above: Paul Cézanne. La Corbeille de pommes, c. 1893. Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 31 1/2 in. (65 x 80 cm). Signed lower left in red-brown: P. Cezanne. The Art Institute of Chicago (The Helen Birch-Bartlett Memorial Collection).

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the artist’s legacy is in your hands

Fitz Henry Lane – Gloucester Harbor 1847 (detail)

with panOpticon the artist’s legacy is in your hands

When you use panOpticon, you aren’t just compiling and archiving data for future publication. When you use panOpticon, you are building a fully-functioning, reasoned catalogue bit by bit.

panOpticon is a purpose-built cloud-based Information Management System, designed so you can analyze, validate, document, and manage the data around the artwork of an individual artist and release traceable, verifiably accurate information for others to discover and reuse.

As soon as they are ready to release, reliable data about works of art and their histories may be published, they can be put to work in curating exhibitions, they play a vital role in promoting an unknown or overlooked artist, they can be employed to create teaching tools and interactive displays, they are indispensable to the production of an authoritative catalogue raisonné.

Reliable data help preserve and protect the legacy of an artist.

Get started now. The sooner you begin, the happier you’ll be.

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The best way to grasp what our product can do is to see it in action. Request a demonstration. We demonstrate our system online. We’ll show it to you wherever you are.

Above from left to right: Hugh Steers (1963–95) 1982 photo: Nicola Goode; Mary Cassatt (1844–1926); László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) and Lucia Moholy, Untitled 1925, Museum of Modern Art: Thomas Walther Collection. The Family of Man Fund 1791.2001 © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

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an amazing site – it takes a village


Fitz Henry Lane – Gloucester Harbor 1847 (detail)

An amazing website makes a significant contribution to the digital humanities

Fitz Henry Lane Online is a freely-accessible interactive and interdisciplinary online resource created by the Cape Ann Museum. The website is organized around a catalog of the paintings, drawings, and lithographs of nineteenth-century American painter Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865). The Cape Ann Museum, located in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Lane’s birthplace and home for most of his life) has the world’s largest collection of Lane’s paintings, drawings, lithographs, and related archival material. The website is intended to provide information of interest to a broad audience, and to serve as a resource for study of Lane’s work. The website focuses on both the formal, aesthetic qualities and the historical context of Lane’s pictures.

“One of the advantages of an online resource is that new information can be added at any time. It is intended that this site will evolve as writers, historians, and art scholars pursue new research and use this site as a forum and important resource for the work of Fitz Henry Lane and the related art and history of mid-nineteenth-century New England.

“With funding from generous donors, early conservation and curatorial work by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and conservation work donated by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the website now includes hundreds of high-resolution images, including details and conservation (infrared, x-ray, and magnified) images; provenance records; selected exhibition and literature histories; annotated entries for key works; and extensive historical materials related to the subjects of Lane’s pictures. This project could not have been launched without the tireless contributions of project and Cape Ann Museum staff and the wide circle of advisors and volunteers who have so generously devoted their time and expertise, for which we are ever grateful.”

Sam Holdsworth
Fitz Henry Lane Online Project Director
“About the Project” (see the full article with list of staff, sponsors, and donors)

 

“A sincere thanks for getting us to this milestone.
The site is amazing.”

Ronda Faloon
Director of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts
Fitz Henry Lane: An online project under the direction of the Cape Ann Museum

 

Above : Fitz Henry Lane. Gloucester Harbor (detail),1847. Oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 41 in. (71.8 x 104.1 cm). Signed and dated lower right: F H Lane, 1847 [could have been FHL originally]. Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Estate of Samuel H. Mansfield, 1949 (1332.20). Photo: Cape Ann Museum

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panOpticon is pleased to have worked so closely with everyone involved with this innovative project. And we feel especially privileged that our online platform powers such a remarkable site.

Starting a project of your own? Already have data and wondering what to do next? Simply have a question? Contact us.

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meet our advisory board


Battista, Cooke, Gabrielli, Nash

Four leaders in the fine art of cataloging will advise us as we move forward

It is with great pleasure that we at panOpticon present the members of our newly formed Board of Advisors, a distinguished group, whose experience and expertise covers just about every aspect of catalogue raisonné production—from research, archiving, scholarship, and writing, to education, exhibition curation, estate management, and collecting.

Kathy Battista, Writer, Educator, Curator, is the Founding Program Director of the MA in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York.

Susan Cooke, Art Historian, is Associate Director of The Estate of David Smith and Program Director of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association.

Caroline Gabrielli, Art Library and Archive Consultant, is part of the team preparing the Richard Serra Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture.

David Nash, Art Dealer, co-founded the New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash. He directs the Paul Cézanne Catalogue Raisonné Project, which he created in 2011.

We invite you to read more about Kathy, Susan, Caroline, and David on our website.

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Whether you are starting a catalogue raisonné from scratch, or looking for a more robust product for your current data, panOpticon has a package that will meet your exact needs.

“I have long understood the extraordinary capacity of database programs to amass, organize, and reveal connections among myriad kinds of information, but I can honestly say that the panOpticon tool is first of its kind that I have also enjoyed using.” — Susan Cooke

Contact us to schedule a demonstration.

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Philippe Smit Catalogue Launched


László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy Untitled 1925

The Complete Works of Philippe Smit Launched

Florence Castellani is co-author, with Andreas Narzt, of The Complete Works of Philippe Smit. The following remarks were made by Ms. Castellani at a reception hosted by Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, on May 21, 2017. All those in attendance were there to celebrate the launch of this bilingual online catalogue raisonné.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests to Glencairn Museum. We are happy to be hosted in this prestigious place for it was originally Raymond Pitcairn’s home and he was the dear brother of Theodore.

Theodore Pitcairn played such a major role in fostering Philippe Smit’s work. And today it is the same Pitcairn family who has so generously supported this project to bring Smit’s work to a larger audience.

It is at this point that I must declare a familial interest, for it was my aunt Marijke, who was Smit’s muse and it was her husband, Theodore Pitcairn, who became Smit’s patron. I grew up surrounded by Smit’s paintings and it is therefore with great pleasure that I am able to present the fruits of this project today.

Many decades ago I first discussed with my uncle Theodore the possibility of undertaking work to promote Smit’s paintings.

Unfortunately, although my uncle was a keen supporter of this idea, the momentum for the project lapsed with his death, and it was not until five years ago that the work was renewed in earnest.

Over the years, I often wondered why Smit’s works were not more widely known and for the longest time I remained eager to bring them to a broader audience and to ensure their future.

It was a fortunate meeting with the art historian Andreas Narzt, which made it possible for this project to be finally realized. Narzt agreed to undertake a crucial role in the project, becoming the director “scientifique” of the Catalogue Raisonné online.

But in order to publish the catalogue, it was first necessary to establish a comprehensive index of all of Smit’s works. As is so often the case with artistic works, it was not easy to establish the whereabouts of Smit’s paintings and the search has spanned not just years but also several countries, including the United States, the Netherlands, and France.

Today, after five years of work, I am pleased to announce the launch of the first free bilingual (French and English) Catalogue Raisonné online. We live now in a digital age, one that makes it possible to disseminate Smit’s work to a truly global audience. In this way, the scope of the project far exceeds what we could have imagined or hoped for so many years ago. In this way, the online catalogue is not only a testament to Smit’s work but also a tribute to his patron, Theodore Pitcairn.

Theodore Pitcairn’s generous patronage was a lifeline for Smit, sustaining him over so many years and allowing him to flourish as an artist, freed entirely from commercial constraints. And yet this artistic freedom also made Smit wholly indifferent to any need to find a larger audience. Smit’s concerns were artistic and religious, not worldly in nature. In hindsight, it is perhaps not a surprise that he was not more widely known in his lifetime. However, it would be a profound mistake to allow his work to remain overlooked.

Theodore would have loved nothing more than to bring Smit’s painting to the world and I am so happy that so many of his descendants’ children, grandchildren, relatives and friends in France and elsewhere have provided such generous support for this project.

Life has made a curious looping in the story of Philippe Smit. It was Theodore Pitcairn’s support that helped Smit to lead a tranquil life without the constant struggle to find favor with art dealers and exhibitors. And yet it was this same support that inadvertently helped obscure his possible fame. But, now with their gracious sponsorship of the Catalogue Raisonné, Theodore’s children and grandchildren, relatives and friends have helped to bring Smit’s work to the audience that it truly deserves.

Above: Philippe Smit. Castle la Roche Jagu, Brittany, 1933. Pen, black ink and watercolour on paper. 5 1/8 x 8 5/16 in. (13 x 21 cm), The Lord’s New Church, Bryn Athyn, PA. Photo: Christopher Burke Studios, NY; © FdDPS

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We at panOpticon are extremely proud that the Philippe Smit Catalogue Raisonné Project uses our unique information management system to power it’s online catalogue raisonné.

Starting a catalogue raisonné project? Already have data and wondering what to do next? Simply have a question? Email us at enquire@panopticondesign.net.

The best way to fully grasp what our product can do is to see it in action. Fill out a form to request a demonstration. We can come to you if you are in New York City. If not, we can demonstrate our software online. We’ll show it to you wherever you are.

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how to keep an artist’s work alive

Paul Cézanne in his studio at Les Lauves

how to keep an artist’s work alive?   — choose the right online tools now

The Artist Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs, is a must read for artists, their family members and their heirs, artist’s studio managers, artist’s estate executives, artist-endowed foundation managers and board members, gallerists, and gallery/artist liaison managers, service providers for artists’ estates, art lawyers & tax advisors, and all those who have a stake in the industry.

Edited by Loretta Würtenberger, co-founder of The Institute for Artists’ Estates in Berlin, this invaluable book offers “appropriate financial models, possible legal frameworks, as well as advice on how to properly handle the art market, museums, and academia.” A whole chapter entitled “How to Keep an Artist’s Work Alive?” is devoted to the catalogue raisonné enterprise.

Whether it provides an overview of the artist’s oeuvre in digital or print form, a catalogue raisonné establishes the fundamental categories of the art in the catalogue, as well as influences the way we discuss the art. Because it creates value, the originators and editors also carry a great ethical responsibility. In order to maintain the integrity of the artist and the authenticity of his or her work, the meticulous scholarly assessment must be carried out independent of any financial interests. “As a ‘register of reason,’ the work on the catalogue raisonné requires diligence more than intellectual brilliance,” remarks the art historian Anette Tietenberg, who works in Braunschweig. Yet the catalogue raisonné also requires more than organizational abilities, as it must harness “the power of facts to ensure
its future relevance.”

Today, a catalogue raisonné should be digitized; it almost goes without saying that online databases can be expanded and updated easily. Moreover, the scope of the online catalogue raisonné should encompass the following:

1. Links to internal archival material
2. Links to documentation such as checklists and exhibition photographs
3. The integration of video and audio materials
4. The possibility of incorporating negative or inconclusive results, so that the limits of previous research are well understood
5. Links to external sources such as archival holdings and press articles or other publications, as well as public search engines and databases.

… it is also imperative to select a database that can be used internally, but also provides a module for web publishing. Among other things, this module then helps determine which sets of information developed for internal use should be published online and for whom. [The New York archivist Caroline] Gabrielli recommends asking at the outset: Who should have full access to the catalogue raisonne? Should access only be local or should it be published on the web? Does the technology allow necessary information to be linked? How much does this particular solution cost? Does it necessitate ongoing technical support, or must separate IT providers be brought on?

Now, take a look at the best example out there, bar none: The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An online catalogue raisonné under the direction of Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman and David Nash.

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Whether you are starting a catalogue raisonné from scratch, or looking for a more robust product for your current data, panOpticon has a package that will meet your exact needs.

   ”The Estate of David Smith is currently using panOpticon for our catalogue raisonné and archives databases and for more general inventory purposes.
“Although we don’t plan to publish the David Smith Sculpture catalogue raisonné online (it will be published as a three-volume book, by Yale University Press), we may decide post-publication to turn on the public-facing features of our panOpticon database in order to share updates and new finds.
“We’ve found panOpticon to be a remarkably good partner, working with us to migrate the data from our old system, and willing to add features and customize aspects of the basic panOpticon system so we could make it work well for our particular needs.”

 — Susan Cooke
Associate Director / The Estate of David Smith
David Smith Catalogue Raisonné

Contact us to schedule a demonstration.

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Above: Paul Cézanne in his studio at Les Lauves, in front of the Large Bathers now at the Barnes Foundation. Photo by Émile Bernard, 1904.

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Thomas Hart Benton + panOpticon

Thomas Hart Benton. Instruments of Power, 1908

the Thomas Hart Benton catalogue raisonné project uses panOpticon tools

Born in 1889 in Neosho, Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton chose to follow a career in art, rather than politics, where his father and great-uncle, for whom he was named, had achieved prominence. Benton went to Chicago at age 19, studying at the Art Institute of Chicago for two years before going to Paris. There he encountered the work of artists such as Cézanne and Matisse, and the work of the cubists and synchronists, a group of painters who emphasized color as the means of creating form and energetic movement in their canvases. Moving to New York in 1913, Benton was producing paintings that displayed the principles of modernism he absorbed in Paris.

Benton continued to paint in a modernist mode until 1918, when he served as a draftsman in the U.S. Navy during World War I. Spending two years drawing realistic sketches and illustrations affected his style so profoundly that Benton abandoned modernism in favor of a more naturalistic depiction of his subjects, primarily American scenes. Between 1920 and 1924, he journeyed through the South and Midwest, drawing and painting the scenes he observed. By the end of the decade, his art was focused entirely on America and its people, and Benton became a leading American Regionalist artist, rejecting modernism as “foreign.” Using dramatic contrasts of dark and light and strong, mobile forms, his canvases burst with energy. These vigorous works mainly celebrate regional, small-town life, but his subjects also include Biblical and mythological scenes, often populated by what were regarded as typical American figures.

In 1935, Benton moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he spent the rest of his life, painting and teaching for many years at the Kansas City Art Institute. Benton’s art was well known for both its power and populist viewpoint, and he received numerous commissions for murals for public buildings, ranging from museums, to the Missouri State Capitol, to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. He had just completed a mural for the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee, at the time of his death in 1975.

— Biography © American Art @ The Phillips Collection

Above: Thomas Hart Benton. Instruments of Power, one of ten panels from America Today, 1930–31. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012 (2012.478a). Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 909.

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We at panOpticon are extremely proud that the Thomas Hart Benton catalogue raisonné project uses our information management system.

Starting a catalogue raisonné project? Already have data and wondering what to do next? Simply have a question? Email us at enquire@panopticondesign.net.

The best way to fully grasp what our product can do is to see it in action. Fill out a form to request a demonstration. We can come to you if you are in New York City. If not, we can demonstrate our software online. We’ll show it to you wherever you are.

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Moholy-Nagy at LACMA


László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy Untitled 1925

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)    February 12 – June 18, 2017

The first comprehensive retrospective of the work of László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) to appear in the United States in nearly fifty years, this long overdue presentation reveals a utopian artist who believed that art could work hand-in-hand with technology for the betterment of humanity. The exhibition presents an unparalleled opportunity to examine the career of this pioneering painter, photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker as well as graphic, exhibition, and stage designer, who was also an influential teacher at the Bauhaus, a prolific writer, and later the founder of Chicago’s Institute of Design. Among his radical innovations were experimentation with cameraless photography; the use of industrial materials in painting and sculpture; research with light, transparency, and movement; work at the forefront of abstraction; and the fluidity with which he moved between the fine and applied arts. The exhibition includes more than 300 collages, drawings, ephemera, films, paintings, photograms, photographs, photomontages, and sculptures, including works from public and private collections across Europe and the United States, some of which have never before been shown publicly in the U.S. Also on display is the ‘Room of the Present,’ a contemporary fabrication of an exhibition space originally conceived by Moholy-Nagy in 1930. It includes photographic reproductions, films, slides, and replicas of architecture, theater and industrial design including a 2006 replica of his kinetic ‘Light Prop for an Electric Stage’ (1930). Though never realized during his lifetime, ‘The Room of the Present’ illustrates Moholy’s belief in the power of images and various means by which to view them—a highly relevant paradigm in today’s constantly shifting and evolving technological world.

Above: László Moholy-Nagy. Room of the Present (Raum der Gegenwart), constructed in 2009 from plans and other documentation dated 1930 Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven © 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photo: Peter Cox, courtesy Art Resource, New York.

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We at panOpticon are extremely proud that the Moholy-Nagy catalogue raisonné project uses our content management system.

Whether you are starting a catalogue from scratch, or looking for a more robust product for your current data, panOpticon has a software package that will meet your needs. Contact us to schedule a demonstration.