Albers, Josef (1888–1976) By Saletnik, Jeffrey
A student, and later instructor, at the Bauhaus, Josef Albers introduced aspects of the German design school’s curriculum to the United States upon his emigration from Germany in 1933. Although he designed furnishings, worked in stained and etched glass, and made prints, Albers is known particularly for his “Homage to the Square” series of paintings of which he completed several hundred beginning in 1950. In these, three or four painted squares of different hue, color value, and saturation are nested within one another, thereby creating various optical effects as one square appears to float above another or as color differentiation is neutralized. How the chromic context in which any one color is situated contributes to its relative appearance also corresponded to Albers’s teaching of the topic and the important publication Interaction of Color in 1963. Albers taught at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina, between 1933 and 1949, and at Yale University from 1950 until 1958.