Josef Albers - Editions & Works on Paper New York Monday, October 24, 2022 | Phillips
  • "Color is the most relative medium in art"
    —Joseph Albers  

    This set of ten screenprints comes from Joseph Albers’ most well-known series, Homage to the Square (1949-1976). By reducing the figure plane to a sequence of squares nested inside one another, Albers draws the viewer’s focus to color itself. He was particularly interested in the synergy between colors and approached his ideas in a way that was both pragmatic and philosophical. He divided colors into two categories: the factual and the actual. The factual is how he referred to color in isolation, while the actual is the way a color appears in context. As Albers explained it, the appearance of a color can be altered by other colors around it, which leads to a different emotional response. He understood color to be unstable, saying that “in order to use color effectively, it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.” 


    Albers was a very passionate teacher and believed that art students were not there to learn rules, but rather to learn how to see. Albers once said that his goal as a teacher was "to open eyes." He wanted his students to execute their assignments as if they were studying in a lab and pushed them to shift their perspectives to understand the importance of subtleties in the world around them, or what he referred to as an often-unseen reality. Albers’ book, Interaction of Color, initially intended to be a guide for other teachers, has been in print for almost 60 years and remains one of the most influential resources on color theory.  


    When I paint 

    I think and see 

    first and most—color 

    but color as motion 


    Color not only accompanying 

    form of lateral extension 

    and after being moved 

    remaining arrested 


    But of perpetual inner movement 

    as aggression—to and from the spectator 

    besides interaction and interdependence 

    with shape and hue and light 


    Color in a direct and frontal focus 

    and when closely felt 

    as a breathing and pulsating 

    —from within 


    Josef Albers, untitled poem 

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Connecticut, acquired directly from the artist

    • Literature

      Brenda Danilowitz 165

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Golden Gate; Palatial; Nacre; Late; Porta Negra; Emeraude; Profundo; Artic Bloom; Pending and Arrived


Homage to the Square, Soft Edge - Hard Edge (D. 165)

the complete set of 10 screenprints in colors, on Rives BFK paper, with full margins, the colors bright and fresh, each contained within paper folios with printed titles, with text by Albers, title page, and justification, all contained within the original black cloth-covered portfolio and smooth black card slipcase.
all I. 11 x 11 in. (27.9 x 27.9 cm)
all S. 17 x 17 in. (43.2 x 43.2 cm)
slipcase 18 1/4 x 17 3/4 x 1 1/4 in. (46.4 x 45.1 x 3.2 cm)

Numbered '109' in black ink on the justification (the edition was 250, there was also a signed edition of 50), published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, Connecticut (with their blindstamp).

Full Cataloguing

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $16,380

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24 - 26 October 2022