Josef Albers

Paintings on Paper

November 21, 2014 – December 20, 2014


In cooperation with Galerie Fred Jahn in Munich, Schönewald Fine Arts opens an exhibition of Josef Albers – Paintings on Paper, dedicated to his Farbstudien (color studies). Josef Albers (*1888 in Bottrop, † 1976 in New Haven/USA) is one of the leading figures of Abstract Art after 1945. At first he had studied and taught at Bauhaus. After his emigration to the USA in 1933 he taught at the famous Black Mountain College and later at Yale University. Thereby, he became one of the most influential teachers of his time. His students were Robert Rauschenberg, Eva Hesse, Kenneth Noland and Richard Serra to name only a few. However, Albers’ influence outreaches his students’. Through his paintings, especially through his great series Homages to the Square, on which he focused from the 1950s until his death, he became one of the most central inspirators for the generation of American Minimal Art artists looking for a picture language beyond the emphasis of Abstract Expressionism. His affinity to craftmanship, his great restrained of emotions and his concentration on a few elements lead to a complex, visual phenomenon which lives on in works by i.e. Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Ryman or Fred Sandback. Josef Albers – Paintings on Paper also opens the view to a lesser known aspect in his oeuvre, in fact the Farbstudien (color studies) for his Homages to the Square. With these Farbstudien (color studies), Albers focuses on the combination of colours in their variations as well as on the revelation and evocation of vision through art. With Homages to the Square he does not pay homage to the square itself, as he once determined. For Albers the square is rather a tray on which he spreads his inner state of mind by means of color. These paintings on paper are the results of a cautious process to be understood as the preparation for his then rapidly executed hardboards. In comparison to the very controlled color application in the paintings, Albers acts here more spontaneously. The materiality of the colours, applied with a palette knife, is directly noticeable. Furthermore, the colours seem to shift and their passages seem like a floating line. The blotting paper absorbs the oil of the colours in a way, that makes them seem matt and makes them emerge their inner luminance. All sheets are overwhelming in their sensuality.
Albers work has been rediscovered by a wider audience through a great series of exhibitions touring from 2010 to 2012 through the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Pierpont Morgan Museum in New York.


Installation images