Josef Albers Review

Holland Cotter commented in the NYTimes (July 26, 2012):  “Albers’s overall aim was to create an impression of effortless, inevitable harmony, which, of course, demands hard work. And labor is the subject of “Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper” at the Morgan Library & Museum, a show not about finished products but about the constant hands-on research and experimentation, the hitting, missing and learning-as-you-go correcting that went into them.”  Wow.  I couldn’t agree more after recently visiting this beautiful must see exhibition with Sallie Benton.  I was struck by Albers’s invention and exploration of paint on blotting paper.  This early work reveals a technique that allowed for soft open edges and intense passages of pure unmixed color over another (think Rothko).  These small painting gems clearly show Albers experimenting and playing with equivalent values and hues of different colors (i.e orange and pink) abutting each other and forcing your eye to dance back and forth while your body moves  from a closeup to a panoramic view. What a genius!  One other important take away I want to share is a quote from the curator:  “…His studies convey the hesitations of an intuitive approach…”  I find this extremely important in understanding not only Albers’s vision but the creative process itself.  His decades long devotion to color and its properties is apparent here, but these paintings reveal much more. You can feel his hand searching for the right color as he moves a chromatic light green over a gray green.  It’s so alive.  For more information go to

One comment on “Josef Albers Review
  1. Kathi says:

    Thank you for your post. Although I am not an expert on Albers by any means, I appreciate the accessibility of his visual experiments about color. This show deserves a close look by artists, admirers and collectors of contemporary art.


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