Ingo Maurer

German (Reichenau, Germany, 1932)

Ingo Maurer spent his childhood (which coincided with the period between World Wars I and II) on the island of Reichanau in southern Germany. In his early 20s he studied graphic design and emigrated to the U.S., where he worked briefly as a freelance designer in New York City and San Francisco.

In 1963 Maurer returned to Munich and started exploring what he calls the "magical and mystical" properties of light. Three years later, Maurer designed Bulb, a lamp in the form of an oversized, double lightbulb. Though Bulb was designed to be functional, it playfully explored the expressive potential of an object from everyday life. In this regard, Maurer's practice resembles that of Pop artists such as Claes Oldenburg and painter Andy Warhol.

Bare lightbulbs and paper have been recurring elements in Maurer's work. He has created many lamps and chandeliers — some of which have become icons of modern decoration — and designed lighting for fashion designer Issey Miyake's runway shows.

From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at to verify artwork details.

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