Josef Albers

American, born Germany (Bottrop, Germany, 1888 - 1976, New Haven, Connecticut)

Homage to the Square

painting | oil on Masonite
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  • Homage to the Square

    Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1969; oil on Masonite, 24 in. x 24 in. (60.96 cm x 60.96 cm); Collection SFMOMA, © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

From 1949 until his death in 1976, Josef Albers created a series of paintings titled Homage to the Square. These works explore the artist's endless fascination with the discrepancy between how colors look when seen one at a time and how they appear in different combinations. In his writings on color theory, Albers noted that the way we experience color varies based on our individual personalities and on factors such as hue, dimension, and placement.

Albers chose the square for its neutrality: he felt that such a common shape would not distract viewers from their experience of color. To create a "pure" experience, he applied his pigments directly from the tubes in which they came, spreading them in thin layers onto the surface of the canvas.

24 in. x 24 in. (60.96 cm x 60.96 cm)
Acquired 1979
Collection SFMOMA
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


squares, abstract, green

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