Artist Josef Albers was a designer, photographer, typographer printmaker and a poet. This German-born American artist formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs in the 20th century.
Born in 1888 in Germany, Albers taught as a school teacher for five years before being trained to be an art teacher. Albers received his first public commission to design and create a stained glass window in 1918. After taking courses at the Weimar Bauhaus, founder Walter Gropius asked Albers to teach the principles of handicrafts. Albers immigrated to the United States when the Bauhaus was closed in 1933 due to Nazi pressure. From 1933 to 1949 Albers taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina; his students included Robert Rauschenberg, Ray Johnson, CY Twombly and Susan Weil. Albers went on to become the head of the Design department at Yale University where he taught until his retirement in 1958. In 1963 Albers published a book on his ideas about color, believing that colors were governed by an internal and deceptive logic. Josef Albers died in 1976 in New Haven, Connecticut at the age of 88.
The artist’s series of prints and paintings titled “Homage to the Square” was an exploration of the chromatic interactions between nestled squares. One of the works in the Escalette Collection of Art at Chapman University comes from the “Homage to the Square” series. This serigraph explores the relationship between different shades of blue. Leaving the idea of chromatic interactions, the other ten works in the permanent collection explore the idea of shape and space using white outlines on a grey background.
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