IDBURY PRINTS

JOSEF ALBERS (German/American / 1888-1976)

Josef Albers was born in Westphalia. He studied art in Berlin, Essen, and Munich, before entering the Bauhaus, where he was first a student, then a teacher. When the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis, Albers was among the Bauhaus teachers who emigrated to America, and recreated much of the Bauhaus atmosphere at Black Mountain College, where Albers taught from 1933-1950. His students at Black Mountain included Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. From 1950 Albers taught at Yale University. Josef Albers was the bridge between constructivism and hard-edge abstraction, and his most famous series of paintings remains his Homage to the Square, in which Albers rings endless colour changes on essentially the same composition. His interest in colour theory is reflected in his monumental print portfolio with text, Interaction of Colour (1963), which was illustrated with numerous silkscreens (serigraphs). Interaction of Color represents the essence of Albers's teaching and his thought. To create it, he enlisted his Yale students as the equivalent of a Renaissance artist's studio; where the participation of a particular student in the creation of one of the silkscreens is known, we have credited the work to Albers and the student in question. Some of the students remained little-known, while others went on to distinguished careers; among them are the artist Julian Stanczak, the poet Mark Strand, and the typographer Gerald Cinamon. Albers called them "my first collaborators". The color studies were made as collages in pasted paper, either by Albers himself or one of these collaborators, and then interpreted as silkscreens at the Ives-Sillman atelier (essentially the same process involved in turning Matisse's paper cuts into pochoirs for the Jazz portfolio). The hundreds of inks necessary to reproduce them as silkscreens were all mixed by Sewell Sillman (1921-1992), a former student of Albers at Black Mountain College and the main assistant teacher in the Yale color class; a new type of light-fast ink was developed by the Interchemical Corporation expressly for this project. Sillman also supervised the printing of the silkscreens at Ives-Sillman. The Interaction of Color silkscreens were mostly printed as double page spreads. Where they were intended to be viewed in conjunction with each other, either vertically or horizontally, we offer them as a full double spread; where the two pages were intended to be viewed independently, we have divided the spread down the central fold and offer them as single works. Besides many of the Interaction of Color silkscreens, we also possess silkscreens made after paintings for various catalogues, including 16 silkscreens published by Wittenborn in Josef Albers: His work as contribution to visual articulation in the twentieth century. After Interaction of Color, Josef Albers published a second monumental work exploring his color theories further, Formulation : Articulation (1972). The work of Josef Albers, and that of his wife Anni Albers, is today furthered by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut.

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Selected prints by JOSEF ALBERS

Interaction of color
XX-1 (r), 1963
Serigraph/silkscreen
Interaction of color
XIV-4, 1963
Serigraph/silkscreen
Homage to the square, 1963
Serigraph/silkscreen

View all available prints by JOSEF ALBERS