Josef Albers - Photographs New York Tuesday, April 4, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut
    Deborah Bell Photographs, New York

  • Exhibited

    Josef Albers: A Retrospective, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 24 March– 29 May 1988

  • Literature

    Guggenheim Museum, Josef Albers: A Retrospective, pl. 82 (this print), there titled Untitled (small beach, Biarritz)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Learn to see and to feel life. . . cultivate imagination, because there are still marvels in the world, because life is a mystery and always will be. But be aware of it . . ." - Josef Albers

    Josef Albers took this bird’s-eye view of a beach while teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. From an elevated vantage point, he documents the patterns people make in the sand as they gravitate towards the sea. It is an early example of his artistic exploration of life and the world around him as seen through the lens of a camera; a “new vision” of the textures and design created by life’s magnetic forces.

    As evident in the present lot, visual inquiry was the foundation of Albers’ art and teaching. He trained at the Bauhaus as a painter and was the first student to become a master teacher. In 1933 Albers left Germany, with his wife Anni, when asked to develop a core curriculum, based on the Bauhaus tenets of material and sensory exploration, for the newly established Black Mountain College in North Carolina which placed art at the center of its liberal arts curriculum. Albers went on to restructure the Yale University’s Department of Design. There he developed his pioneering color work that, as with this photograph from Albers’ early years at the Bauhaus, was based on visual exploration.

    Josef Albers’ photographs are currently the subject of a groundbreaking exhibition and catalogue at The Museum of Modern Art, New York One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers, through 2 April 2017.

    © 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Kleiner Strand am Nachmittag (small beach in the afternoon), Biarritz

circa 1929
Gelatin silver print.
9 1/4 x 6 in. (23.5 x 15.2 cm)
Signed, titled and annotated in pencil on the verso.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $22,500

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New York 4 April 2017