Room 11

Colour had been dropped from the Bauhaus curriculum in 1925, but it became increasingly important for both Moholy and Albers in the later stages of their careers.

Moholy began to experiment with colour slide film as soon as it became widely available in 1937. He was, however, dissatisfied with the printing techniques available at the time, which he felt interfered with the chromatic values of the slides. As a result, only one of the images shown here was printed during his lifetime: a compositional exercise involving pinheads and coloured translucent film entitled Study with Pins and Ribbons 1937–8. Moholy’s colour slides encompassed an exceptionally wide range of subjects, from abstract light compositions and long exposures of firework displays to surrealist haunted tableaux of everyday situations.

Questions of perception had been at the forefront of Albers’s mind throughout his career. Not unlike a research scientist, he was keen to explore how even a small change to one element might affect a viewer’s experience of the overall composition. This preoccupation led him to concentrate increasingly on colour, culminating in the lavishly produced Interaction of Color 1963, a hybrid between artist’s book and school textbook in which all the illustrated work was done by Albers’s students. His experiments with colour perception make Albers one of the most original contributors to the understanding of colour in twentieth-century art.