Inspired by: Josef Albers

Just like any beautiful home, art is meant to be consumed, enjoyed, lived with. In fact, art and interior design need one another. A truly beautiful interior displays compelling works of art (not necessarily expensive pieces, but pieces that have value in being original and intriguing and coherent with one’s story) while any beautiful piece of artwork is enhanced with the appropriate decor.

Art elevates a room and it could be anything, really. A collage of framed old photographs that are meaningful to you, graphite sketches from a memorable trip abroad, vintage oil paintings…

When it comes to decorating professionally, an educated eye for art is a plus for any interior designer. There are so many choices available and so many different price points that a certain knowledge (and instinct) in selecting the right piece is necessary. I think this is one of the reasons why lately I’ve been interested in learning more about modern art, abstract painters of the 20th century in particular. So far, I love Ellsworth Kelly and his vibrant prints, Jack Youngerman, Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko and so I’ve decided to pick up my Inspired by series with a new name – Josef Albers and his Homage to the Square. The following excerpt is from the Guggenheim Museum art profiles and was written by Cornelia Lauf. Enjoy!

homage apparition

”Albers was a professor at the Bauhaus before leaving his native Germany in 1933 for the United States, where he taught at Yale University and Black Mountain College, among other art schools. As a teacher, his influence in this country was enormous and can be detected in the works of a diverse range of artists, including Peter HalleyDonald Judd, and Robert Rauschenberg.

homage study

Like other artists of his generation, Albers moved from a figurative style of picture making to geometrically based abstraction. Homage to the Square: Apparition, painted in 1959, is a disarmingly simple work, composed of four superimposed squares of oil color applied with a palette knife directly from the tube onto a white, primed Masonite panel. It is part of a series that Albers began in 1950 and that occupied him for 25 years.

homage difused

The series is defined by an unmitigated adherence to one pictorial formula: the square. The optical effects Albers created—shimmering color contrasts and the illusion of receding and advancing planes—were meant not so much to deceive the eye as to challenge the viewer’s faculties of visual reception. This shift in emphasis from perception willed by the artist to reception engineered by the viewer is the philosophical root of the Homage to the Square series. Albers tried to teach the mechanics of vision and show even the uninformed viewer how to see. He was always proud that many nonart students took his classes at Yale.

homage blue

The Homage to the Square series is also distinguished by the carefully recorded inscriptions of technical details on the back of each panel. This codification of the making of the painting, along with the reductively systematic application of colors, anticipated much of the art of the mid-1960s, when painting was stripped of the transcendental, and (in the case of Conceptual art) the paint was often left out altogether.”  

homage to the square

Study for Homage to the Square 1963 by Josef Albers 1888-1976

Study for Homage to the Square: Beaming 1963 by Josef Albers 1888-1976



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