Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
Net Art's Archival Poetics at the New Museum Ocula Report Net Art's Archival Poetics at the New Museum 23 Feb 2019 : Banyi Huang for Ocula

How should net art be classified, historicised, and exhibited, when time has elapsed between its initial production and its latter presentation? On view at the New Museum from 22 January to 26 May 2019, The Art Happens Here: Net Art's Archival Poetics presents 16 seminal artworks from Net Art Anthology, an ambitious two-year initiative undertaken...

Read More
Xi Bei Ocula Conversation Xi Bei Artistic Director, Times Art Center Berlin

Times Art Center Berlin is a non-profit art institution located in the Potsdamer Strasse Art District of Berlin. It was founded in July 2018 by the Guangdong Times Museum, a non-profit private art museum in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of China, making this the first parallel institution founded overseas by an Asia-based art museum. Its...

Read More
4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

Read More

Josef Albers

(1888 - 1976), Germany

Josef Albers was a German-born American artist and educator who remains one of the most influential abstract painters of the 20th century. As a student and later a professor at the Bauhaus in Weimar and later Dessau, Germany, he played a significant role in introducing the tenets of European Modernism to America when he fled Nazi Germany in 1933. His colour theories and paintings, which emphasised the role of colour over that of form, promote an approach to painting that is based on observation and experimentation.

Albers' three-decade teaching career began in 1922 when the Bauhaus hired him to work in the glass workshop. From 1923, he taught design in the institution's Preliminary course. By 1925, he was teaching alongside Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky as a professor, whilst he continued to work in glass as well as furniture design and typography. Upon his emigration to America in 1933—forced by Nazi hostility to the Bauhaus for its modernist tendencies, which they considered to be 'un-German'—Albers was appointed as head of the art department at Black Mountain College, in North Carolina, and stayed there until 1949. Although the new liberal arts college was to close prematurely in 1957, it was instrumental in exposing the minds of many young American artists, such as Ray Johnson, Kenneth Noland and Robert Rauschenberg, to the principles of Modernism and abstraction. While Albers continued the teachings of the Bauhaus at Black Mountain College, his colour theories were also influenced by his contemporaries there, including the philosopher John Dewey. From 1950 until his retirement in 1958, Albers was the chair of the Department of Design at Yale University.

As a painter, Albers is most remembered for his 'Homage to the Square' series, which he began in 1950 and worked on for 26 years. The paintings in this series are defined by a successive superimposition of squares upon one another, sometimes in varying shades of a single colour (Departing in Yellow, 1964) and sometimes in complementary colours (a painting in red and blue, titled Homage to the Square: Against Deep Blue, from 1955). Albers painted directly from the tube with a palette knife as a way of creating a 'pure' painting, free of brushstrokes. Through their abstracted forms and solid colours, his paintings contemplate human emotion and the light of different times of day and season. Albers was particularly interested in the nuanced chromatic or tonal juxtaposition of colours, once remarking that although midnight and noon cannot exist together in life, they can in a painting.

A prolific writer and a multidisciplinary artist during his lifetime, Albers published poetry, articles and art theories and worked in painting, printmaking, murals and architecture. He designed Two Portals (1961) at the Time and Life Building in New York, then Manhattan (1963) at the Pan Am Building in the same city. Both works reflect his exploration of the relationships between colours and adopt his signature rectangular motifs. Of his published writings, Interaction of Colour (1963) is arguably the most cited.

During his lifetime, Albers had solo exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Art (1940); The Germanic Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge (1936) and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover (1935). In 1955 and 1968, he participated in documenta 1 and 4 respectively, and in 1971 he was the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Recent exhibitions include Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017–2018), Josef Albers: Minimal Means, Maximum Effect, Fundación Juan March, Madrid (2014) and Painting on Paper: Josef Albers in America, Pinakothek der Modern, Munich (2010). The two exhibitions travelled to various cities in seven countries. The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded in 1971, has also organised exhibitions and publications to preserve and promote the Albers' legacy.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
Read More

Featured Artworks

View All (13)
Interlinear N 65 by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersInterlinear N 65, 1962 Zinc plate lithograph, offset to stone for printing
22 x 30 inches
Krakow Witkin Gallery
Transformation D by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersTransformation D, 1950 Engraving from machine-engraved brass plate on Corinthian Wove paper
12 x 15 inches
Krakow Witkin Gallery
SP VI by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersSP VI, 1967 Screenprint on Schöllers Hammer Board
24.25 x 24.25 inches
Krakow Witkin Gallery
SP VII by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersSP VII, 1967 Screenprint on Schöllers Hammer Board
61.6 x 61.6 cm
Krakow Witkin Gallery
Variant: Pale Yellow Facade (JAAF 1959.1.70) by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersVariant: Pale Yellow Facade (JAAF 1959.1.70), 1959 Oil on masonite
71.1 x 102.6 cm
Waddington Custot
Study for Graphic Tectonic (Ascension) by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersStudy for Graphic Tectonic (Ascension), 1941 Ink and graphite on paper
56.2 x 43.5 cm
David Zwirner
WLS XVII by Josef Albers contemporary artwork Josef AlbersWLS XVII, 1967 Three colour aluminium plate lithograph on handcut arches paper
52.7 x 52.7 cm
Alan Cristea Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

View All (5)
Contemporary art exhibition, Josef Albers, Sonic Albers at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
8 January–16 February 2019 Josef Albers Sonic Albers David Zwirner, 20th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, A Luta Continua at Hauser & Wirth, New York
Closed
26 April–27 July 2018 Group Exhibition A Luta Continua Hauser & Wirth, 22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Josef Albers, Sunny Side Up at David Zwirner, London
Closed
13 January–10 March 2017 Josef Albers Sunny Side Up David Zwirner, London

Represented By

In Related Press

View All (8)
Albers opens eyes to Mexico Related Press Albers opens eyes to Mexico The New Criteron : 28 February 2018

It is possible that society has never been more poorly prepared than in the present cultural moment to appreciate an artist like Josef Albers (1888–1976). The German-American painter's deliberate, introspective, and contemplative art seems in many ways to be utterly incompatible with our overriding fascination with the big, the 'now,' the...

Read More
Homage to Mexico: Josef Albers and His Reality-Based Abstraction Related Press Homage to Mexico: Josef Albers and His Reality-Based Abstraction The New York Times : 14 December 2017

Art rarely thrives in a vacuum. It is by definition polyglot and in flux, buffeted by the movement of art objects, goods and people across borders and among cultures, and also by individual passion. This much, especially the passion part, is demonstrated by "Josef Albers in Mexico," a quietly stunning exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum...

Read More
Homage to Josef Albers: Writers Pay Tribute to a Pioneer of Minimalism Related Press Homage to Josef Albers: Writers Pay Tribute to a Pioneer of Minimalism Hyperallergic : 3 May 2017

In Josef Albers: Midnight and Noon, David Zwirner has put together a comprehensive book that looks both generally and specifically at Albers' seminal Homage to the Square series, by way of various writers, including Nicholas Fox Weber, Elaine de Kooning, and Colm Tóibín. The contributors discuss their relationships to both the series and the...

Read More
Bright and Beautiful Related Press Bright and Beautiful Modern Magazine : 11 April 2017

In the 1930s, Josef and Anni Albers made the first of many trips to Mexico. There's a picture of Josef Albers taken by Anni at Mitla in Oaxaca about 1937. He's in profile, and behind him, filling the rest of the frame, are the frenetic, step-fret forms of the stone mosaics that drew archaeologists to the Zapotec site. The photo—these people...

Read More

In Related Video

A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Related Video & Audio A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Hauser & Wirth : 8 May 2018

Unfolding across all three floors of Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, A Luta Continua is the first United States presentation of the Sylvio Perlstein Collection. Curated by David Rosenberg, the exhibition presents more than 360 works by some 250 artists. Among these are Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, André Breton,...

Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Josef Albers are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

iCal GoogleYahooOutlook