Josef Albers - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 24, 2023 | 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

    • Literature

      Brenda Danilowitz 156.1-156.10

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Wide Light; Thaw; Tenuous; Equivocal; Patina; Full; Shielded; Aura; Reserved; and Joy.


Homage to the Square: Ten Works by Josef Albers (D. 156)

The complete set of 10 screenprints in colors, on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper, with title, text by Richard Lippold, and justification pages, accompanied by the original cream linen-covered portfolio case and black card slipcase.
all I. 11 x 11 in. (27.9 x 27.9 cm)
all S. 17 x 16 7/8 in. (43.2 x 42.9 cm)

Signed and numbered 115/250 in black ink on the front and reverse of the justification respectively, published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, Connecticut, all framed.

Full Cataloguing

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $82,550

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Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24-26 October 2023