(Bottrop, 1888 - New Haven, 1976)
After studying painting in Berlin, Essen and Munich, in 1920 he entered the Bauhaus in Weimar. In those years his works tried to subvert the static character of painting to highlight the instability of forms; to do this, Albers repeated abstract geometric patterns, using almost exclusively primary colors. The creations of this period include prints, furniture designs, metal works, but above all collages of colored glass that allow continuous variations of light.
Due to the Nazi repression, in 1933 the Bauhaus was forced to close. Albers then emigrated to the United States, where he became an American citizen in 1939, teaching in North Carolina until 1949. In 1950 he moved to New Haven to teach at Yale University, retiring from teaching in 1958. In these years Albers focused on different series of paintings, made from similar geometric drawings that give effects of ambiguity, whose purpose is to systematically explore the effects of perception.
His most famous series, "Homage to the Square" (begun in 1949), is made up of simple repeated and overlapping squares, colored with different shades that create an optical effect of depth. Albers was not only a painter, he is in fact also remembered as one of the major theorist of abstract art: he gave many lectures and published several books and articles in which he tried to investigate the intrinsic logic that governs colors. His theories had a fundamental influence on generations of young artists, forming in particular the foundation of the abstraction of the art. His teaching work allowed him to have among his pupils Richard Anuszkiewicz, Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell, Ray Johnson and Susan Weil.
Albers continued to paint and write in New Haven with his wife, the textile artist Anni Albers, until his death on 26 March 1976.
Josef Albers, Study for homage to the square “Deep Tune”, 1963
Oil on masonite
cm 40,6 x 40,6