Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Josef Albers (1888-1976): Homage to the Square
Four squares of yellow next together. Despite a rigid format, they float freely, creating an optical illusion of another dimension. Each area has been painted in a single colour. The paint has been applied with a knife, directly from the tube. Albers' most famous series of paintings, of which this is one, shows squares created from pure colour. The optical illusion created in this picture means it is related to the Op Art movement. Yet the way the paint has been applied and the use of colour link it with the Post-Painterly Abstraction movement.
Between 1920 and 1923, Albers studied at the famous Bauhaus school. He joined the staff in 1923. A Dutchman by birth, Albers moved to the USA in 19133, where he taught many established artists at the Black Mountain College and Yale University. His influential book The Interaction of Color was published in 1963. In this he explores the perception of colour, which was a dominant theme throughout his life.
Josef Albers, Homage to the Square. 1964. Oil on panel. h76.2 x w76.2cm. h30 x w30. Tate Gallery London