Mochi’s outline portrait series of composers and musicians began as a commission for a book on the greatest figures in musical history. The outbreak of the First World War disrupted the German publishing house’s efforts, and the book was never released.

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These carriages, commissioned by a premier postcard company, showcase Mochi’s deft handiwork even in his early 20s. Beginning with these early pieces, Mochi's prolific Transportation Collection spans the better part of his career.
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Mochi’s lampshade designs began with a scene cut from black paper, then filled behind with a single piece of silk, producing a marvelous effect when lit. The lampshades were just the beginning of Mochi's stunning silk works. His increasingly complex designs, using rich multicolored cut silk, created the illusion of stained-glass.

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At 21, Mochi moved to Germany after being promised entry into the Berlin Academy of Music by his voice teacher who since moved there. Once in Berlin, Mochi never saw him again. In order to earn a living, he sang in cafes and beer gardens. He spent much of his time at the Berlin Zoo, sketching the creatures and admiring their natural beauty.

A reproduction from Mochi's "Wildlife" series. © 1984 Estate of Ugo Mochi.

He continued to gain wider acclaim as a “poet of shadows.”

Soon Mochi was part of the local artist community. With the help of these influential friends, Mochi received a full scholarship to study sculpture at the Berlin Academy of Art. For two years he studied with the famous sculptor August Gaul, whom he had met while modeling at the zoo.

While in Berlin, Mochi married a young voice student from America. Together they led a life filled with art and music. Their apartment was always open to friends in the arts, reminiscent of his childhood in Florence. All the while, he continued to cut his paper outlines, mastering his technique with diligent practice and gaining wider acclaim as a “poet of shadows.”




Outlines by Mochi.