Details & Cataloguing

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Josef Albers
1888 - 1976
signed with the artist's monogram and dated 68; titled on the reverse
oil on masonite
101.6 by 101.6cm.; 40 by 40in.
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This work will be included in the Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Josef Albers currently being prepared by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and is registered under 1976.1.809.


The Estate of Josef Albers
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut
PaceWildenstein, New York
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner


Valencia, Institut d'Art Modern Centre Julio González, Josef Albers: Glass, Colour and Light, 1994-95
London, Waddington Galleries, Josef Albers: Homage to the Square Paintings and Photographs (1928-1938), 2001,  p. 27, no. 17, illustrated in colour
New York, PaceWildenstein, Josef Albers: Homage to Colour, 2003

Catalogue Note

Homage to the Square (Stucco Framed) is an intriguing and compelling example from Josef Albers’ celebrated Homage to the Square series. Dominated by the verdant green of the central square, the outer squares are built up in a complex optical illusion that have the effect of framing the painting. The visual potency of this effect provides the restless dynamism of the work as the eye is drawn from the green to the almost architectonic outer whites and back again. Albers was intrigued by the effects that placement of colours could have and particularly by the way the inherent ‘strength’ of a colour could be altered through its juxtaposition with other colours. In the present work this relationship is perfectly illustrated as the positioning of the lighter colours allows them to compete with the stonger green.

Beginning in 1949, Albers’ Homages to the Square were to domiate his artistic production for the rest of his life. Once begun, Albers dedicated himself to this body of work, repeating with deliberate economy his variations of coloured squares in a continuous exploration of colour. “All perception of colour is decieving. We don’t see colours as they really are. We may perceive two different colours to look alike, or two equal colours to look different. Or opaque ones to appear translucent…This game of colours – the change of identity – is the object of my study” (The artist quoted in Jürgen Wißmann, ‘Josef Albers’ Homages to the Square as the Unity of Rationality and Sensitivity’, Josef Albers, Cologne, 1989, p. 21).

Albers’ artistic objective is brilliantly achieved in the present work, where his careful and deliberate choice of colours combine to create a work that seems to alter with every viewing, entirely proving his assertion that colour “is the most relevant medium in art” (Josef Albers, Interaction of Colour, Yale University, 2006, p. 1).

Contemporary Art Day Auction