Homage to the Square: Dense-Soft Artist: Josef Albers (American, born Germany, 1888–1976, M.A. (Hon.) 1950, D.F.A. (Hon.) 1962)


Modern and Contemporary Art

Not on view

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.


Oil on Masonite


39 7/8 × 39 15/16 in. (101.3 × 101.5 cm)
framed: 40 1/2 × 40 1/2 in. (102.9 × 102.9 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Anni Albers and the Josef Albers Foundation, Inc.

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.

  • Gwathmey Siegel, exh. cat. (Wilmington, NC: Cameron Art Museum, 2009), 104, fig. 104
  • 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
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

abstract (general art genre)




LR: "A69" (69 is superscript)

Technical metadata and APIs


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