Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Josef Albers, American, born Germany, 1888–1976, M.A. (Hon.) 1950, D.F.A. (Hon.) 1962

Homage to the Square: Dense-Soft


Oil on Masonite

101.3 x 101.5 cm (39 7/8 x 39 15/16 in.) framed: 102.9 x 102.9 cm (40 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.)
Gift of Anni Albers and the Josef Albers Foundation, Inc.

In 1950 Josef Albers initiated his Homage to the Square paintings. He believed that limitations promote focus, and this rule-governed series provided an ideal laboratory for that theory and his study of color. There are only four compositional variations throughout the hundreds of Homages that form the series. Albers applied the paint with a palette knife, leaving a thin border around each painting to set the work apart from its environment. Depending on adjacent hues, colors can seemingly change from translucent to opaque, giving the illusion of luminous haloes and dissolving borders between two areas of color.

20th century
Not on view

Brenda Danilowitz and Nicholas Fox Weber, Color and Light: Josef Albers Homage to the Square, exh. cat. (Sao Paulo, Brazil: Instituto Tomie Ohtake, 2008), ill.

Gwathmey Siegel, exh. cat. (Wilmington, NC: Cameron Art Museum, 2009), 104, fig. 104.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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