CONTEMPORARY PRINTS
Josef ALBERS
Josef Albers (1888-1976) is best known for his seminal “Homage to the Square” series of the 1950s and '60s, which focused on the simplification of form and the interplay of shape and color. “Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature,” he once said. “I prefer to see with closed eyes.” His abstract canvases employed rigid geometric compositions in order to emphasize the optical effects set off by his chosen color palettes. Albers was highly influential as a teacher, first at the Bauhaus in Germany alongside Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and later with posts at Black Mountain College, Yale, and Harvard; he taught courses in design and color theory, and counted among his students such iconic artists as Eva Hesse, Cy Twombly, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and Robert Rauschenberg. He is often cited among the progenitors of Minimalist, Conceptual, and Op art. German-American, 1888–1976, Bottrop, Germany, based in Dessau, Germany, Black Mountain, North Carolina and New Haven, Connecticut
"Homage to the Square"
and more
"Variants", "Formulation: Articulation"
and more
Josef Albers began to paint his "Variant", or "Adobe", series on his sixth journey to Mexico, in 1947, during a sabbatical from teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The vivid color palette and abstract, geometric compositions of these works resemble the brightly colored, painted walls of flat-roofed adobe dwellings that were common in Mexico at that time. Often denying that his abstractions made reference to the material world, Albers insisted that his artwork titles should be regarded as poetic language rather than literal references.
Accomplished as a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, and poet, Albers is best remembered for his work as an abstract painter and theorist. He favored a very disciplined approach to composition, especially in the hundreds of paintings and prints that make up the series "Homage to the Square". In this rigorous series, begun in 1949, Albers explored chromatic interactions with nested squares. Usually painting on Masonite, he used a palette knife with oil colors and often recorded the colors he used on the back of his works. Each painting consists of either three or four squares of solid planes of color nested within one another, in one of four different arrangements and in square formats.
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