Home > Art History, Uncategorized > ART HISTORY: JOSEF ALBERS


October 4, 2011

When Josef Albers died, he left a complex and varied legacy and something like a million tubes, bottles, cans, jars and containers of paint.  He was practically on a personal mission to possess, analyze and use every manufactured color he could find in his lifetime, and from what I read he could hardly pass up a shade he did not have.  I believe he had a remarkable memory for color which is displayed in his work.

Josef Albers [1888 – 1976] is well known both as an artist and an art teacher.  He relentlessly pursued ideas about color relationships and perception with his highly formal abstract series Homage to the Square but also made paintings with other forms and shapes generally identified as hard-edged, Modernist Abstract art.  He is frequently identified as a Bauhaus or European Abstract artist; but having immigrated to the USA in the 1930s, Albers spent many years teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina then went on to teach at Yale.  Albers had taught or had contact with dozens upon dozens of artists that went on to prominent careers.  There are too many for me to list here, but his name comes up repeatedly in the book Colour Chart and in the biographies of many Contemporary artists.

I have been to Black Mountain and it is really beautiful there.  It is just outside Asheville, North Carolina and not a terrible drive from Knoxville, Tennessee.  Black Mountain College is more of a museum and a community art center now; sadly, it is no longer an accredited, functional art college.  There are internships through the museum and artist residencies through the foundation.  Learn more about Josef Albers and the works of his wife Anni Albers at their Foundation website here.  There are collections of images of art, photographs and articles available.

Categories: Art History, Uncategorized
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