Writing for Dessau's Volksblatt (the daily newspaper), an unknown reviewer said, "The decisive tone of this exhibition does not lie, however, in the Fensterbilder which come to life when the daylight passes through them, but rather in the Glasbilder, which like paintings are solidly framed on the wall. It is characteristic for our time that these pictures have a strong sense of tectonic contemporaneity about them. Indeed they possess the strongest sense of materiality. Alongside the age-old, hallowed media of oil, watercolor, and printmaking techniques, we have found new materials for pictures. And glass has huge developmental possibilities—it would be impact- and fire-resistant, it could be a building material—all self-evident now that we have a glass picture before us. As the painter paints, so Albers creates forms with glass."
"At the Bauhaus: Glass Pictures by Josef Albers," Volksblatt, Dessau, May 4, 1932. The full review, translated into English, is available here (pdf).
An August 1932 exhibition of Josef Albers' glass works at the Association for Art and Applied Arts in Erfurt, Germany, met with utter condemnation from the critic for the newspaper of the National Socialists in nearby Weimar, the city that had been home to the Bauhaus school of design from 1919 to 1926. The review is entitled "Kunstbolschewismus"—Art Bolshevism—signaling that from the outset the reviewer considers modern art an act of revolution, but in a bad way. The writer goes on to say, "It is hard to understand why the leadership of the Erfurt Museum considers it necessary to bring to Erfurt the offshoots of the unfruitful and uncreative Dessau Bauhaus, which was stillborn from the first moments of its artistic existence in Weimar. The glass paintings of Professor Albers have no artistic or educational significance, nor the least bit of craftsmanship. They come off as a kind of highly superfluous aesthetic gimmick. This description, which the artist himself offers, might serve as a cautionary example of what art should not be. His so-called "Shard Pictures" resemble the blown glass creations of the middle ages. But while the latter are actual works of art, the artist describes his own works as "shard pictures: demonstrative reminders of economic inflation, created from pieces of broken bottles out of want for other materials, and in a related manner, mounted through reduced technical capacities." [...] That the interpretation of this artistic bolshevism borders on the ridiculous is further shown in the following "formal notes" by the "artist's hand:" thematically, the pictures are abstract. Formally, I am particularly interested in irrational combination, in the forms of mathematical figures, in the dynamic motion of ambiguity through modulating the quantities of colors."
In 1934 Josef Albers was invited to give three lectures at the Lyceum Club, a women's cultural and social club founded in 1929, in Havana, Cuba. Josef's recent work was exhibited in the Lyceum's gallery during the series of lectures, which were reported in the newspaper Ahora. Albers, who did not speak Spanish, was indebted to the Cuban-born designer Clara Porset, who recited the lectures in Spanish after Albers presented them in German. Porset additionally wrote a short piece about Albers for Ahora. Albers and Porset shared a mutual appreciation for each other's work. It was Porset's design for a Mexican Butaque chair that inspired Albers to create a version for Black Mountain College. The Alberses traveled to Cuba with their Black Mountain College colleagues and friends Ted and Bobbie Dreier.
From the Archives
Untitled lecture by Josef Albers at the Lyceum Club, December 29, 1934, Spanish translation (pdf).
"Josef Albers; Teacher and Artist," by Clara Porset in Ahora, 1934, English translation (pdf).
"Josef Albers and the New Architecture," by Jose M. Valdes-Rodriguez in Ahora, 1934, English translation (pdf).
1935 Andover, Massachusetts
1935 Asheville, North Carolina
1936 Black Mountain, North Carolina
1936 Cambridge, Massachusetts
1936 Mexico City
1936 New York
1937 New London, Connecticut
1937 Norfolk, Virginia
1938 New York
1938 New York
1938 New York
1939 Roanoke, Virginia
1939 Wilmington, North Carolina
1940 New Orleans
1940 San Francisco
1941 Los Angeles
1941 New York
1942 Cambridge, Massachusetts
1942 Kansas City, Missouri
1942 Santa Fe, New Mexico
1943 Denton, Texas
1943 Greensboro, North Carolina
1944 Bennington, Vermont
1945 Des Moines, Iowa
1945 New York
1946 New York[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Egan Gallery, Josef Albers: Graphic Works, 1–12 October 1946. Exhibition of 30 prints traveled to Cranbrook Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Mills College, Oakland, California; University Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Art Institute of Chicago, 7 September–20 October 1946; University of Louisville, Kentucky; Central College, Fayette, Missouri; North Texas State Teachers College, Denton, Texas; Denver Art Museum; Santa Barbara Museum; Pasadena Art Institute; Pat Wall Gallery, Monterey, California
1946 New York
1946 Roanoke, Virginia
1946 Tallahassee, Florida
1947 Black Mountain, North Carolina
1947 Monterey, California
1947 New York
1947 San Francisco
1948 Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1949 Durham, North Carolina
1949 Easton, Pennsylvania
1949 New Haven
1949 New York
1949 New York
1950 Louisville, Kentucky
1950 New London, Connecticut
1950 Utica, New York
1950 Washington, D.C.
1950 Wellesley, Massachusetts
1952 New York
1953 Essex, Connecticut
1953 Hartford, Connecticut
1953 Redlands, California
1955 Cambridge, Massachusetts
1955 New York
1956 New Haven
1958 Freiburg im Breisgau
1958 New York
1959 New York
1959 New York
1959 Saratoga Springs, New York
1960 Los Angeles
1961 New York
1962 Katonah, New York
1962 Los Angeles
1962 Washington, D.C.
1963 Cambridge, Massachusetts
1963 Dallas[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, The Interaction of Color: A Presentation of Paintings and the Color Theory of Josef Albers, 30 April—26 May 1963. Under auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, exhibition traveled to San Francisco Museum of Art, 14 June—14 July 1963; Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, October 1963; Worth Ryder Art Gallery, Kroeber Hall, University of California, Berkeley, 24 November 1963—2 January 1964; General Motors Styling Center, Detroit, 31 January—28 February 1964
1963 Los Angeles
1963 New York
1964 New York[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Museum of Modern Art, International Council, Josef Albers: Homage to the Square. Exhibition traveled to 11 venues in Latin America and 11 venues in the United States: Galleria Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela, 8 March–29 March 1964; Centro de Artes y Letras, Montevideo, Uruguay, 20 April–17 May 1964; Instituto Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 9 June–5 July 1964; Instituto de Arte Contemporañeo, Lima, Peru, 14 September–11 October 1964; Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 5 November–30 November 1964; Museu de Arte Contemporañea, São Paulo, Brazil, 7 December–23 December 1964; USIS Guayaquil de Cultura Ecuadoriana, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 8 January–5 February 1965; Ecuadoran-American Cultural Center, Quito, Ecuador, 8 January–5 February 1965; Bi-National Center, Bogota, Colombia, 19 February–19 March 1965; Museo de Arte Contemporañeo, Santiago, Chile, April 1965; Museo de Arte y Ciencas de la Universidad, Mexico City, July–August 1965; Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee, 15 October–7 November 1965; Huntington Galleries, Huntington, West Virginia, 19 November–12 December 1965; Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York, 7 January–4 February 1966; State University College, Oswego, New York, 21 February–14 March 1966; Atlanta Art Association Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, 25 March–24 April 1966; Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, Texas, 9 May–6 June 1966; George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 24 June–17 July 1966; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 14 August–18 September 1966; Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin, 3 October–24 October 1966; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, 7 November–4 December 1966; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas, 2 January–22 January 1967
1964 New York
1964 Northampton, Massachusetts
1964 Rapperswil, Switzerland
1964 Winterthur, Switzerland
1965 Cincinnati[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Contemporary Arts Center, Paintings by Josef Albers, 18 May 1965–August 1965. Exhibition traveled to Boise Art Association, Boise, Idaho, 24 August–24 September 1965; Contemporary Art Association, Houston, Texas, 1 October–3 November 1965; Newcomb College, New Orleans, Louisiana, 14 November–14 December 1965; Forth Worth Art Center, Fort Worth, Texas, 23 December 1965–21 January 1966; Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Texas, 31 January–15 March 1966; Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 12 April–16 May 1966; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 1 June–14 July 1966
1965 Hartford, Connecticut
1965 Washington, D.C.
1966 New Haven
1966 Washington, D.C.
1967 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
1967 Mexico City
1967 SeattleWashington Western Association of Art Museums, Josef Albers. Exhibition traveled to Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, 1–30 April 1967; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, May–June 1967; Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August–September 1967; Allentown Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1–31 October 1967; Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 6–27 November 1967; Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, December 1967; Asheville-Biltmore College, Asheville, North Carolina, 3–28 February 1968; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1–30 April 1968; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, 1–30 May 1968; Northern Illinois University, Normal, Illinois, 3–28 June 1968; Bergstrom Art Center, Neenah, Wisconsin, 14 August–8 September 1968
1968 New York
1969 Høvikodden, Norway
1969 Mexico City
1970 Macerata, Italy
1970 New York
1971 Knokke, Belgium
1971 New York
1971 New York
1971 Princeton, New Jersey
1971 Zagreb, Yugoslavia (Croatia)
1978 New Haven
1979 Ridgefield, Connecticut
1981 Montclair, New Jersey
1983 New York
1984 New York
1985 Los Angeles
1986 Coral Gables, Florida
1986 New York
1987 New York[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] American Federation of Arts, The Photographs of Josef Albers: A Selection from the Collection of the Josef Albers Foundation. Exhibition traveled to Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 15 June–9 August 1987; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, 23 August–18 October 1987; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, 8 November 1987–3 January 1988; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 27 January–5 April 1988; Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, 24 July–18 September 1988; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 8 January–5 March 1989; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 26 March–1 May 1989
1988 New York
1988 New York
1988 New York
1988 Tourcoing, France
1989 New York
1991 Alexandria, Virginia[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Art Services International, Josef Albers: Works on Paper, Exhibition traveled to J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, 16 September—3 November 1991; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina, 6 December 1991—12 January 1992; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama, 1 February—15 March 1992; Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California, 4 April—17 May 1992; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 8 August—20 September 1992; Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee, 10 October—29 November 1992; Bard College, Edith C. Blum Art Institute, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 19 December 1992—4 April 1993; Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany, 5 May—end of July 1993; Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland, 26 August—10 October 1993; Haus für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst, Zürich, Switzerland, 12 November 1993—9 January 1994; Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, Germany, 22 January—20 February 1994; Sala de Exposiciones Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain, 15 September—30 October 1994
1991 Marfa, Texas
1993 New York
1994 Venice[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Josef Albers: Glass, Color, and Light, 30 March–10 July 1994. Exhibition traveled to Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy, 21 July–3 October 1994 [Josef Albers: Vetro, colore e luce]; IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain, 3 November 1994–8 January 1995 [Josef Albers: Vidrio, Color y Luz]; Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany, 12 February–15 April 1995 [Josef Albers: Glas–Farbe–Licht]; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 7 June–17 September 1995
1995 New York
1995 Northampton, Massachusetts
1996 Comune de Villa Carcina, Italy
1996 New York
1996 New York
1998 New York
1998 Plieux, France
2002 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
2002 Los Angeles
2002 Niigata City, Japan
2003 New York
2003 New York
2004 New York
2004 Scottsdale, Arizona
2004 Veszprém, Hungary
2005 New York
2006 Columbus, Georgia
2006 Madrid[FULL TEXT FOR SUB HEADLINE] Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Anni y Josef Albers. Viajes por Latinoamérica, 14 November 2006–12 February 2007. Exhibition traveled to Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany, 11 March–3 June 2007 [Anni und Josef Albers: Begegnung mit Lateinamerika]; Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, 27 June–23 September 2007; Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City, Mexico, 6 November 2007–23 March 2008; Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, 29 May–24 August 2008 [Anni e Josef Albers: Viagens pela América Latina]
2006 Naples, Italy
2006 New York
2007 Mexico City
2007 New York
2008 Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
2008 New York
2008 Sarasota, Florida
2009 São Paulo
2010 Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper presents the many studies that Josef Albers made for his paintings. With approximately eighty oil sketches on paper, the exhibition reveals a private side of Albers's work. These sketches were never exhibited in the artist's lifetime and have rarely been seen after his death. On view are early studies (1930s–early 1940s), studies for Albers's Adobe series, inspired by Mexican architecture (1940s–early 1950s), and studies for Homage to the Square (1950s–1970s). These vibrant sketches provide insights into the artist's working process and, in contrast to the austerity and strict geometry of the final paintings, are remarkable for their freedom and sensuality. Works are drawn from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut and the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop, Germany.
Touring Exhibition Venues
A complete list of exhibition venues is available here (pdf).
2010 New York
2010 Washington, D.C.
2011 Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia
2012 Cork, Ireland
2013 Stuart, Florida + Orono, Maine
Albers and Heirs celebrates Josef Albers's extensive contribution as an artist and educator. Paintings by Albers are complemented by the work of two of his students, Neil Welliver and Jane Davis Doggett. Welliver and Doggett mastered Albers's discipline of the interaction of color and made it central to their work.
2013 Citta di Castello
The experience of artistic creation that Josef Albers came to represent is exactly what we mean by the word "art." A wide, varied concept that Albers managed to express, devoting his whole life to it, and above all conveying the extraordinary wisdom that ties the creative process to the real world. It is a process which cannot be taught, but which can make us capable of seeing. Josef Albers's work as a teacher is one of the aspects that best illustrates his revolutionary force and that makes him one of the founders of exact art. The exhibition is guided by the works and testimonies left by Albers's numerous students, friends, and colleagues, and by Albers himself who always conceived of teaching as a natural act of moral duty. Josef Albers, Art as Experience: The Teaching Methods of a Bauhaus Master is a homage to Josef Albers, to an idea that becomes concrete, that becomes design, and to creative research that manages to be both subjective and rigorous: in short to the discovery of artistic experience which is unique, personal, and constantly evolving. The exhibition allows the public to observe the works, projects, and drawings of Albers's students at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and the Yale University School of Art, many of them previously unseen and housed at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Josef Albers: Sublime Optics takes as its foundation Josef Albers's worship of the inexplicable, in a monographic exhibition featuring works that span Albers's career. From his very first extant drawing to his very last Homage to the Square painting, works from every period are seen in an installation organized to engage with Albers's own procedure for approaching the sublime: that of diligent—nearly scientific—consideration of the physical world. The over-eighty works—including lithographs, prints, collages, and paintings all taken from the holdings of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation—are arranged around three of Albers's own visual fundamentals: line, form, and color. Each space features work from different parts of Albers's extensive career, while works from the same period can be seen in different contexts. Each of his artworks functions as an exercise itself, teaching those he couldn't reach in his classrooms, to open their eyes and recognize the sublime. Josef Albers: Sublime Optics was curated by Nick Murphy at the Fondazione Stelline, Milan based on the original exhibitions—The Sacred Modernist: Josef Albers as a Catholic Artist at the Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork and Josef Albers: Spirituality and Rigor at the Galleria Nazionale del Umbria, Perugia arranged by Nicholas Fox Weber in 2012 and 2013.
2013 Milan + Bottrop
The exhibition, curated by Atlante Cultura in collaboration with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, explores the connection between Albers's work as an artist and his role as one of the foremost teachers of art of the twentieth century. Through Albers's own words, videos, photographs, projects and original works by Albers and his students the exhibition illustrates the teaching methods that Albers considered to be a full-fledged pedagogical science. It highlights Albers's belief in the necessity of the artist's ability to take risks, to have a sense of curiosity towards his surroundings, and to engage in continuous experimentation. The exhibition includes more than one hundred works in all mediums created by Albers's students at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and Yale University drawn from the rich holdings of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Josef Albers professed his Catholic faith with reserve and discretion, even in the rare cases when he engaged directly with the iconography of Christian mysticism. Allegories, symbols—with the partial exception of the cross—and didactic intentions are completely foreign to Albers's oeuvre. The rigorous manner in which Albers ruled out from his painting any element that might anchor it to history, literature, religion, science, and even the contemporary world and his own personal life, represents a crucial prerequisite for the absolute quality of his works and for his own abstraction from the ordinary passing of time. This suspension and escape from the stream of events constitutes in itself one of the preconditions for sacredness. The exhibition Josef Albers: Spirituality and Rigor maps the paths that Albers's work took on the road to achieving that quality and sacredness, culminating in the Homage to the Square series which occupied most of the final quarter century of his life. A genuine ascetic of the arts, Albers knew how to draw strength from his sacrifices: "no smock, no skylight, no studio, no palette, no easel, no brushes, no medium, no canvas." The changeless quality of this process of execution and its repetition day after day suggest an inner order and harmony, a commitment so great that it turns the creation of paintings into a kind of individual ritual; a liturgy that constitutes an expression of the sacredness of painting. By virtue of this independence and ethical rigor, which bars all exceptions, tricks, and shortcuts, the works acquire their authenticity, their "truth" and capacity to serve as a means to spiritual elevation, their universality.
A special exhibit at the Josef Albers Museum affords a special look at Albers's Homage to the Square series; for the first time this exhibit brings together the first and the last paintings of the series. The breadth of Albers's art is thus brought to our attention in an exemplary fashion. Contrary to the suggestion in the title, Homage to the Square is not an homage to a geometrical shape, but rather a celebration of color and its limitless possibilities of expression. Albers chooses the established square pictorial scheme because of its compact frontality, which strides up to us like an icon and thus also becomes a shape in the background of our attention. Thus we can concentrate on the countless variations in the conversation of the colors. This involves a complex equilibrium among the identities of all the colors, which interact and thus change one another's appearance. "Color is the most relative medium in art," Albers once declared, so it is the observer, who uses vision to set into movement the apparently statically placed color gradations. The painting becomes a living organism, the effect of which is not restricted to the retina, but rather is reflected in our consciousness and emotions.
Waddington Custot Galleries present Josef Albers: Black and White in association with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. This is the first exhibition to be held in the UK which explores the importance of black and white in Josef Albers's work. Almost 50 selected works testify to Albers's versatility as an artist. Albers explored the power of black throughout his life. His thorough use of black using multiple materials helped inform his knowledge and understanding of colour. Works in the exhibition include his earliest extant drawing from 1911, his Bauhaus glass constructions and photo collages. An important set of six Treble Clef gouaches from the 1930s show his subtle symbioses of black, white and grey. Six Graphic Tectonic drawings from the 1940s and Structural Constellations from the 1950s show geometric precision and exemplify his wish to create 'maximum effect' from 'minimal means'.
2014 Madrid + Oslo
Josef Albers: Minimal Means, Maximum Effect is the first retrospective in Spain devoted to Josef Albers (1888–1976). Notwithstanding its retrospective character, the exhibition is not structured as a simple chronological survey of the artist's work. Rather, it presents the work of Josef Albers as a project equally characterized by its coherence and its search for simplicity, its productive use of deliberately limited means and resources, its respect for manual labor and its emphasis on experimentation with color, taking material shape in a body of work with a marked poetic and spiritual content. Albers's output is decidedly the result of a judicious administration of artistic resources. In its totality his oeuvre is the consequence of a true "economy of form." The exhibition catalogue includes an extensive documentary section with 57 texts by Albers, 26 of them previously unpublished. In addition to his early figurative drawings, in which the effectiveness of the "economical" lines is already notable, the show includes works in stained glass, furniture and objects designed during the Bauhaus period, as well as graphic work and paintings from the artist's years in North America.
2014 Palma + Cuenca + Bottrop
Josef Albers: Process and Printmaking explores the Josef Albers's lifelong interest in printmaking. From the stark black and white of his earliest woodblock prints whose motifs were drawn from the coal mining landscape of Albers's Westphalian hometown, Bottrop, to the vivid colors and abstract geometry in screen prints of the 1960s and 1970s, Albers, like so many artists, was drawn to printmaking by the economy of production, freedom of creation, and the opportunity for trial and error, experimentation, and innovation the medium offered. Albers experimented with a range of printed mediums, from relief prints in wood and linoleum; to stone, color, and zinc plate lithographs; intaglio techniques; and screen prints. With just over one hundred works, the exhibition allows a rare view into the workings of the artist's imagination, showing individual studies and extended series in which the process and progress of image making is laid out. The transformation and resolution of idea into form occurs in a revelatory manner in the viewer's presence. Seen together with their studies, Albers's printed works reveal the unfolding of a nuanced understanding of how elements of form—texture, line, and color—can reveal rich and astonishing visual experiences.
2014 Palma, Mallorca
Josef Albers/Joan Miró:The Thrill of Seeing integrates Miró's paintings, drawings, and sculpture, from the collection of the Fundación Pilar y Joan Miró, with Albers's paintings, prints, and glass work, from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, to reveal visual and spiritual similarities. Conceived by Nicholas Fox Weber, director of the Albers Foundation, in cooperation with Elvira Camera, director of the Fundacion Miró, it presents a lively selection of art works, ranging from little-known studies to recognizable masterpieces, that delight the viewer in showing to what a great degree Albers and Miró shared the inclusiveness of their vision, their openness to forms and colors and objects and people and the natural and the manmade and daytime and nighttime without qualification or preference. Albers and Miró were both great painters, and they both had that deep and abiding love for life; Josef Albers/Joan Miro:The Thrill of Seeing makes the pleasures and common ground of their work available to viewers in an unprecedented way.
2015 Los Angeles
The series of records made by Command Records almost 56 years ago still resonates with audiophiles and are much sought after by connoisseurs of mid-century modern design. The covers represent a result of the meeting of two individuals, Josef Albers and Enoch Light. Both men driven by a strong conviction about their respective crafts—one an influential teacher and artist, and the other a stereorecording pioneer. Although Albers is a legendary figure in the graphic design world, the artwork he did for Command represent nearly the only examples of his commercial work. The designs pushed the level of abstraction never before seen on records, while the albums pushed the capabilities of the recording and reproduction of stereo sound. Perfectly matched, and bold for their time, the records benefited from a growing class of post-war consumers interested in a comfortable lifestyle, and were a big commercial success. The covers are a testament to the value of trusting in strong, visual design and serve as a manifestation of the commingling of European Modernist ideals.
A Beautiful Confluence: Anni and Josef Albers and the Latin American World presents the art of the 20th-century masters in tandem with the pre-Columbian objects they collected from the time they moved to America in 1933 until Josef's death in 1976. In fourteen trips to Mexico and other countries in Central and South America, they discovered that "Art is everywhere." The Alberses felt an emotional camaraderie with stonecutters and potters and weavers, some of whom lived centuries ago, because of a shared interest in line and color and artistic technique. With little money, the couple amassed an important collection, and the exchange between what they bought and their own work became powerful. This exhibition, featuring more than 200 objects, reveals the similar visual and artistic interests and personal passions of Anni and Josef and the Latin American world that became their haven. For more information, visit abeautifulconfluence.com
2016 Burlington, Vermont
Formulate/Articulate is presented in conjunction with AIGA Vermont Design Week and features vivid examples of Josef Albers's print and graphic work as well as related ephemera, including original screenprints from his seminal 1963 publication, Interaction of Color.
Josef Albers: Homage to the Square is dedicated to the artist's most famous series of paintings, which he created from 1950 until his death in 1976. The Homage to the Square paintings share a basic geometric composition of squares within squares, and the variations, of which Albers made into the thousands, explore the mutability of color and its effects on perception. Of particular note in this exhibition is the unusual Double Homage to the Square, which pairs two paintings within one composition. Other works include studies and finished oil paintings from 1955 to 1965.
2016 New York
One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers focuses exclusively on this deeply personal and inventive aspect of Albers's work. One of the least familiar aspects of Albers's career is his inventive engagement with photography, which was only discovered after his death. The highlight of this work is undoubtedly the photocollages featuring photographs he made at the Bauhaus between 1928 and 1932. At once expansive and restrained, this body of work anticipates concerns that Albers would pursue throughout his career: seriality, perception, and the relationship between handcraft and mechanical production. MoMA presented the first serious exploration of Albers's photographic practice in 1988, The Photographs of Josef Albers. In 2015, the Museum acquired ten photocollages by Albers—adding to the two donated by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation almost three decades ago—making its collection the most significant anywhere outside the Foundation. This installation celebrates both the landmark acquisition and its related publication.
2016 New York
The title Josef Albers: Grey Steps, Grey Scales, Grey Ladders is taken from a passage in Interaction of Color (1963), Albers's significant treatise on color studies and an essential handbook for artists and teachers. Particularly concerned with the study of chromatic interaction, in which visual perception of a color is affected by those adjacent to it, Albers writes, "To this end, we study gradation by producing so-called grey steps, grey scales, grey ladders. These demonstrate a gradual stepping up or down between white and black, between lighter and darker."
The centrality of these gradations between black, white, and grey to Albers's overall theory of color is demonstrated by the inclusion of his first Homage to the Square painting, Homage to the Square (A) (1950), which inaugurated the series that would occupy him until his death in 1976. Establishing the configuration of nested squares for which the series is known, the work moves progressively from deep black at its center to pale grey at its edge. In addition to this key painting and its related studies, the exhibition also presents a range of works in a variety of media that attest to Albers's lifelong investigation into black, white, and grey, from ink and watercolor works on paper that pre-date his time at the Bauhaus, to gouaches executed during his tenure at Black Mountain College, to color studies that shed light on his working process. Known primarily for his intensive exploration of color, Albers often utilized tones of black, white, and grey while working out new ideas and new techniques, crafting finely tuned studies of light and perception while emphasizing the graphic and rhythmic qualities of his compositions. Examples of this tendency include not only the first Homage to the Square, mentioned above, but also earlier works, among them his series of Treble Clefs (1932–35)—important gouaches that bridge the period from his departure from the Bauhaus to his arrival in America—and selections from his Kinetics series of the early 1940s.
2017 Abilene, Texas
From the Collection: Josef Albers, Homage to the Square features Albers's portfolio of ten screenprints Soft Edge–Hard Edge from 1965. This is the first time the full set of prints has been exhibited at the museum. "Simultaneous contrast is not just a curious optical phenomenon—it is the very heart of painting," Albers explained of his lifelong pursuit of investigating color relationships. "Repeated experiments with adjacent colors will show that any ground subtracts its own hue from the colors which it carries and therefore influences."
2017 Birmingham, Alabama
Homage to the Square: Ten Works by Josef Albers features a set of ten screen prints by the artist from 1962. Each print is poetically titled, encouraging visitors to make connections between the meaning behind the titles and the experience viewing the prints. Albers is best known for the hundreds of paintings and prints from his series Homage to the Square, which explores the interaction of colors within a composition of three or four nested squares.
2017 Butte, Montana
Josef Albers—Formulate: Articulate showcases prints from Albers's portfolio Formulation: Articulation, highlighting signature works from over forty years of Albers's career. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Butte Light and Color Festival.
Josef Albers: Sunny Side Up presents a trove of paintings over five decades in which yellow dominates, conveying the limitless expressive potential of color and light that characterizes Albers's practice as a whole. If there was any single inspirer of Josef Albers's embrace of color it was the German Romantic poet, Johann Wolfgang Goethe. As a young artist, Albers owned an early edition of Goethe's Theory of Color (1810) in which the poet wrote ". . . a strong yellow on lustrous silk . . . has a magnificent and noble effect. We also experience a very warm and cozy impression with yellow. Thus, in painting, too, it belongs among the luminous and active colors. . . . The eye is gladdened, the heart expands, the feelings are cheered, an immediate warmth seems to waft toward us."
Sunny Side Up brings a touch of that warmth, presenting a selection of the artist's iconic Homage to the Square paintings, begun in 1950 and elaborated on until his death in 1976. Exploring a variety of chromatic and perceptual effects, the Homage to the Square paintings serve as a sustained, serial investigation into rhythm, mood, and spatial movement within a carefully configured nested square format. Also on view are paintings from Albers's earlier Variant/Adobe series, as well as color studies and additional works on paper. The exhibition forms a pendant to David Zwirner's previous Albers exhibition in New York (November–December 2016), Josef Albers: Grey Scales, Grey Steps, Grey Ladders, which focused on the artist's use of black, white, and grey.
2017 New Haven, Connecticut
Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas examines intersections between the art-making and art-collecting strategies of the Alberses, two of the most influential figures of twentieth-century modernism. Between 1935 and 1967, the couple made numerous trips to Latin America and the American Southwest and amassed a large collection of ancient artworks from these regions. The exhibition looks at these objects in depth and considers how Anni and Josef's collection supported their aesthetic sensibilities and teaching practice. In addition to objects from the ancient Americas, the show gathers together dozens of works that the couple made, including textiles, paintings, works on paper, and rarely studied photographs that Josef took at archaeological sites and museums. Demonstrating the Alberses' deep and sustained engagement with ancient American art, an interest that was decades ahead of its time, Small-Great Objects explores a fascinating dimension of the couple's creative vision.
2017 New York + Venice + Phoenix
Josef Albers in Mexico brings together the artist's photographs and photo collages from the Guggenheim's collection and various lenders. These works, many of which have never been exhibited publicly, suggest a nuanced relationship between the forms and motifs of pre-Columbian monuments and the artist's iconic abstract canvases.
Albers's innovative approach to photography remains an underappreciated aspect of his career. On his first trip to Mexico, in 1935, Albers encountered the magnificent architecture of ancient Mesoamerica. He later remarked in a letter to Vasily Kandinsky, a former colleague at the Bauhaus, "Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art." With his wife, artist Anni Albers, Josef visited Mexico and other Latin American countries nearly a dozen times from 1935 to 1967. They saw numerous archeological sites and monuments, especially in Mexico and Peru. On each visit, Josef took hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines, and sanctuaries at these sites, often grouping multiple images printed at various scales onto eight by ten inch sheets.
Albers's experiences in Latin America offer an essential context for understanding his paintings and prints, particularly from his Homage to the Square and Variant/Adobe series, examples of which are featured in this show.
2017 Windsor, Connecticut
Harmony, curated by students at the Loomis Chaffee school, features screen prints, watercolor paintings, and lithographs by Josef and Anni Albers. In a statement, the students write: "In a world full of chaos and disorder, it can be hard at times to find a thread that is uniting. Differences in our preconceived ideas and critical views on society have formed many divisions, gaps that we often try to forcefully bridge with violence and hatred. However, by looking at things from multiple, different perspectives, we truly appreciate not only the amazing diversity we possess but also the many similarities that join us together. In our Harmony exhibit, we have tried to show how our perceptions, particularly of color, differ from person to person and can often times distort the truth. Each piece in the show also has a number of "supporting pieces" that link the Albers's art to other cultures or every day objects. These supporting pieces show how design elements can be universal, unlimited by culture or time. We hope that by reflecting upon the limitations and possibilities of your own point of view, you can take the time to admire our differences, find common ground, and strive to make a difference in society where, one day, we can all live in harmony.
Josef Albers: Interaction presents approximately 130 works by the German-born artist at the Villa Hügel, the former residence of the industrialist family Krupp in Essen. The retrospective shows a broad range of Albers's work, including paintings, glass and paper works, photographs, and furniture. The exhibition begins with Albers's time at the Bauhaus and then continues to his years in America, exploring themes such as his interest in Mexican landscape and culture and his dedication to the interaction of color in his series, Homage to the Square. A spectacular selection of large-sized paintings from the United States, Germany, and Switzerland represents what it means to think color. Albers said: "Color challenges me as the most relative medium in art."
2018 Siena + Cork + Zagreb
Voyage Inside a Blind Experience (VIBE) is an exhibition that has equal interest for seeing and for visually impaired people, examining the abstract works of Josef and Anni Albers. The project developed from a collaboration between Atlante Servizi Culturali and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, together with the Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano, and with the support of the three European museums presenting the exhibition.
2019 Bellinzona, Switzerland
Josef Albers. Anatomia di «Omaggio al Quadrato» traces the genesis of a twentieth-century icon, the Homage to the Square, through a mainly unpublished sequence of Josef Albers's oil paintings, prints, and sketches.
2019 Bottrop, Germany
Der junge Josef Albers features the artist's early works, including portraits, landscapes, and still-life compositions, in his hometown of Bottrop. Drawings and watercolors, many on view for the first time, show the artist's early facility with form and color.
2019 New York
Sonic Albers examines Josef Albers's relationship to music, musical imagery, and sonic phenomena. Organized in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the show provides a far-reaching look at this underexplored facet of the artist's practice and features a wide selection of paintings, glassworks, drawings, and ephemera from throughout Albers's career, including a number of the album covers he designed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Josef Albers: Interaction of Color focuses on the artist's seminal book from 1963.
2019 Tucson, Arizona
Learning to See: Josef Albers features Albers's portfolio of screenprints Formulation: Articulation. Completed in 1972 the portfolio was published by Harry N. Abrams and printed by the well-known fine art printing firm Ives-Sillman. The series includes screenprints based on works from forty years of Albers's career.
2020 Sweet Briar, Virginia
Josef Albers and the Interaction of Color showcases a collection of original silkscreen prints by the artist created for the book Interaction of Color. The book, composed of 150 silkscreen images, was first published in 1963 by Yale University Press. Interaction of Color is a manifestation of Albers's passion for exploring how colors work scientifically, subjectively and subconsciously. Albers developed the color series while teaching at Yale University Art School. He posed a series of questions to his students, and they responded by creating collages out of colored paper. The collages became the color blocks in the collection. The exhibition is designed to feel like one is walking through an open book. The interactive element of Albers's work with his students is carried through with the availability of iPads where visitors can use an app designed by Yale to move color blocks, as though they are working with paper cutouts in the classroom.