Daily Art Moment: Josef Albers

Image description: Formulation: Articulation I, Volume 1 of 2scr, Josef Albers, screen prints on paper, housed in a cloth-lined portfolio case, 20 ¾ x 15 ¾ x 2 ½ inches. 1. A bold, graphic print of a series of horizontal stripes in varying widths and lengths in hues of pale, medium and dark jade green. Vertical shapes created by the alternating hues undulate across the print, widening and narrowing. Light and dark green stripes placed next to each other result in an illusion of movement.

Artist, teacher, and color theorist Josef Albers spent decades refining his concepts of color relationships and form. Formulation: Articulation, published after his retirement from the art department at Yale University, is a compendium of Albers’s research. Albers considered this book to be a work of art in its own right—not purely didactic. In his words, “Our aim is not a retrospective report; the book aims at Art itself, meaning: no retrospective in the usual sense. These are visual realizations, here presented outspoken in silkscreen.” Notice how the proximity of the colors impacts our vision, and the impact of each color and design on the viewer. Which color relationship best fits your mood today? Click through to compare Albers’s cool, shimmering greens with smoldering reds!

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

2. This print displays color blocking in shades of red, deep red and oxblood. The deep oxblood color is used along both the right and left edges; at left a narrow strip runs vertically and a strip about six times wider borders the right edge. Large blocks of the lighter reds overlap filling in the print. Two columns of horizontal rectangles and squares run in a track like pattern from top to bottom. Alternating shades of red create further geometric patterns.

Josef Albers (American, born Germany, 1888–1976), Formulation: Articulation I, 1972, Volume 1 of 2; screenprints on paper, housed in a cloth-lined portfolio case. Gift of The Josef Albers Foundation, Inc., 80.72.1

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