Artist Feature: Josef Albers Artist Feature: Josef Albers
Artist Feature: Josef Albers

Artist Feature: Josef Albers

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Mar 08, 2024

Josef Albers is an artist famous not just for a body of art, but also for his contribution to color theory and his role as a critical teacher of visual arts in the American higher education system. His abstract color block paintings are essential for our modern understanding of color, and his students number amongst the most famous modern artists of the 20th century. Albers’ Interaction of Color, published in 1963, is required reading for many art students all over the world.

Albers attended the Weimar Bauhaus in Germany in the 1920s and then taught at the school until the closure of the Bauhaus, under pressure from the growing Nazi Party, compelled him to emigrate to the US. At the Bauhaus, he was close friends and collaborators with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Oskar Schlemmer, some of the greats of early Abstract painting. In America, he taught at Black Mountain College before heading the Design Department at Yale University until his death.

Josef Albers’ most renowned work is his series Homage to the Square. Each of these hundreds of paintings consists of three or four nested concentric squares, saturated with different colors, exploring chromatic interactions and relationships. He stressed that color, as it appears to the human eye, isn’t straightforward or objective. The appearance of any one color is deeply affected by the colors that surround it and is “deceiving”. Rather than going by hard and fast rules of light and color, Albers argued that it was better to approach the use of color through subjective experience, to approach the end goals of emotion and vision.

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Josef Albers!

Josef Albers

Josef Albers | Art by Kat Sampson

Josef Albers
B. 1888
D. 1976

“I prefer to see with closed eyes.”

Albers was also a muralist and was commissioned to create works in the Manhattan Pan Am Building, the Corning Glass Building, and the Time & Life Building, among many others. However, Albers’ critical position in American art history is mostly due to his influence as a teacher. His challenging and idiosyncratic teaching style was influential for all of his pupils, including artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Eva Hesse, and Richard Serra. In many ways, he was an important bridge between the European Modern tradition and the burgeoning American art world, and he left a mark on artists far and wide.

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Josef Albers!

artist

In collaboration with Kat Sampson, we present The Not Just Dead White Guys coloring book with 24 vibrant portraits, showcasing diverse artists, both deceased and living. Half are contemporary artists, including Josef Albers who are shaping the art scene today, while the others are important historical figures. Join us to celebrate their diverse contributions and create a more inclusive art world!

 

 

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Mar 08, 2024