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Hommage au carré (Homage to the Square)

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  • Date: 
    1972
  • Technique: 
    Oil on wood
  • Dimensions: 
    61 x 61 cm
  • Category: 
    Painting
  • Entry date: 
    2013
  • Register number: 
    DO01973
  • Long-term loan of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, 2013
  • On display in:
This painting is part of a series titled Hommage au carré (Homage to the Square), on which Josef Albers worked between 1950 and 1976. The series focuses on the representation of a central square and a series of successive borders in pure colours, which he repeats in different gradations of colour and pictorial nuances. These constitute a unique study of vision and colour. Albers applies the paint with a spatula, spreading it flat and taking it directly from the tube. However, the sequence and interaction of colours generate depth and concentration. The line and form establish rhythms and tensions, and the repetition suggests transitions. For Albers, professor at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, Black Mountain College and Yale University, this analysis and experimentation with paint speaks to one of the basic principles of his teaching method, the complexity of vision and the need for active contemplation. Albers stated that he moved away from traditional methods, as the aim of his teaching was to “open the eyes”, showing that in the visual universe, everything has a form that affects its surroundings, both colours and adjacent lines. His own work is an example of his teaching: materials which demonstrate the limits of their possibilities, definition of space, the interaction between colours and to and from the viewer, the changing appearance of light and the discrepancy between physical fact and psychic effect. As a whole, his artistic production and his publications on the theory of art present a continuity of convictions, which show how for Albers creation plays a central role in the meaning of existence.

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