Josef Albers

Study for Homage to the Square

1964

Medium
Oil paint on fibreboard
Dimensions
Support: 762 x 762 mm
frame: 780 x 780 x 30 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Mrs Anni Albers, the artist's widow and the Josef Albers Foundation 1978
Reference
T02312

Display caption

In 1950, at the age of 62, Albers began what would become his signature series, the Homage to the Square. Over the next 26 years, until his death in 1976, he produced hundreds of variations on the basic compositional scheme of three or four squares set inside each other, with the squares slightly gravitating towards the bottom edge. What may at first appear to be a very narrow conceptual framework reveals itself as one of extraordinary perceptual complexity. In 1965, he wrote of the series: ‘They all are of different palettes, and, therefore, so to speak, of different climates. Choice of the colours used, as well as their order, is aimed at an interaction - influencing and changing each other forth and back. Thus, character and feeling alter from painting to painting without any additional ‘hand writing’ or, so-called, texture. Though the underlying symmetrical and quasi-concentric order of squares remains the same in all paintings – in proportion and placement – these same squares group or single themselves, connect and separate in many different ways.’

Gallery label, December 2012

Catalogue entry

Josef Albers 1888-1976

T02312 Study for Homage to the Square 1964

Inscribed 'A64' b.r. and on back at top '6 x Liquit - Cobalt Green Lt (Shiva) next [this word has been crossed out, and 'yes' written underneath] Cobalt Green Lt (Rembrandt) - next [this word has again been crossed out and 'yes' written underneath] large permt Bright Green (Grumb. Inc) - I64'; also on back 'Ground: 6 coats of Liquitex (permt pigment) | painting: paints used - from center: | Cobalt Green Lt. (Shiva) | Cobalt Green Lt. (Rembrandt) | Permt Bright Green (Grumbacher Inc) | all in one primary coat | all directly from the tube | Varnish: VARNISH WITH BUTYL METHACRYLATE | POLYMER IN XYLENE DANIEL GOLDREYER LTD. APRIL 1964'
Oil on masonite panel, 30 x 30 (76.2 x 76.2)
Presented by Anni Albers and the Josef Albers Foundation 1978

Like T02311, this is of the B format. The colours, from the centre out, are Cobalt Green Light (Shiva), Cobalt Green Light (Rembrandt), and Permanent Bright Green (Grumbacher).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.6-7, reproduced p.6

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