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Josef Albers (Joseph), his artist quotes and painter statements on color art theory and modern painting

Painter & American art teacher on Bauhaus and Black Mountain College

JOSEF ALBERS (Joseph, 1888 - 1976), with his collected quotes on painting and art statements by the famous American artist & his biography and history facts. Josef Albers was a German-born American painter artist -who created modern abstract painting art. Albers was a famous art teacher; he had a strong impact by his theory on color - interaction and compositions of coloured forms in modern and contemporary American art. Josef Albers was an important art teacher, first at the famous Bauhaus art school in Dessau, Germany. Later he taught at the Black Mountain College in the U.S. where he invited important young artists like Willem de Kooning to give summer courses. Some famous pupils of Albers were the American painters Rauschenberg, Mark Tobey and Helen Frankenthaler a. o.
At the bottom of the page you find more biography / history facts & art links for Josef / Joseph Albers; - editor: Fons Heijnsbroek

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Josef Albers: study: Hommage to the Square, painting on paper

Albers: 'Hommage to the Square' 1964

JOSEF ALBERS (Joseph), his artist quotes and art statements on abstract painting

- Seeing several of these paintings next to each other - (Albers makes a statement on his series paintings ‘Homage to the square’, 1964) - makes it obvious that each painting is an instrumentation on its own. This means that they all are of different palettes, and, therefore, so to speak, of different climates. Choice of the colors used, as well as their order, is aimed at an interaction – influencing and changing each other forth and back. Thus, character and feeling alter from painting to painting without any additional “handwriting” or, so-called, texture. Though the underlying symmetrical and quasi-concentric order of squares remains the same in all paintings – in proportion and placement – these same squares group or single themselves, connect and separate in many different ways. In consequence, they move forth and back, in and out, and grow up and down and near and far, as well as enlarged and diminished. All this to proclaim color autonomy as a means of plastic organization.
* his artist quote from: ‘On my Hommage to the square’, Josef Albers, in ‘Hommage to the square’, Josef Albers, MOMA, New York 1964, n.p.


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- THE ORIGIN OF ART:
The discrepancy between physical fact and psychic effect

- THE CONTENT OF ART:
Visual information of our reaction to life

- THE MEASURE OF ART:
The ratio of effort to effect

- THE AIM OF ART:
Revelation and evocation of vision
* artist Josef Albers, source of his quote: ‘The Origin of Art’, in ‘Hommage to the square’, Josef Albers, MOMA, New York 1964, n.p.


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- But besides relatedness and influence I should like to see that my colors remain, as much as possible, a “face” - their own “face”, as it was achieved - uniquely - and I believe consciously - in Pompeian wall-paintings—by admitting coexistence of such polarities as being dependent and independent - being dividual and individual.
Often, with paintings, more attention is drawn to the outer, physical, structure of the color means than to the inner, functional, structure of the color action… …Here now follow a few details of the technical manipulation of the colorants which in my painting usually are oil paints and only rarely casein paints.
On a ground of the whitest white available – half or less absorbent – and built up in layers – on the rough side of panels of untempered masonite – paint is applied with a palette knife directly from the tube to the panel and as thin and even as possible in one primary coat. Consequently there is no under or over painting or modeling or glazing and no added texture - so-called… …As a result this kind of painting presents an inlay (intarsia) of primary thin paints films – not layered, laminated, nor mixed wet, half or more dry, paint skins.
Such homogenous thin and primary films will dry, that is, oxidize, of course, evenly – and so without physical and/or chemical complication – to a healthy, durable paint surface of increasing luminosity.
* source, artist quote: ‘The Color in my Painting’, Josef Albers, in ‘Hommage to the square’, Josef Albers, MOMA, New York 1964, n.p.


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- I helped my father who was a house painter and decorative painter. He made stage sets, he made glass paintings, he made everything. I was in the workshop and watched him. So as a child so-called art was not my view. That was, in my opinion, my father's job. But I liked to watch him; he comes, as my mother also, from a very craftsman's background. My father's parents were carpenters. They were also builders partly. They were painters. And several of them were very, active in the theatre and all such nonsense, you know. On my mother's side there was much more heavy craft. They were blacksmiths. They made a specialty horse shoes and nails for them… …So, as a child, my main fun was to watch others working. I loved to walk to the neighboring carpenter's place and up to the neighboring shoemaker in my home town.
* source, artist quote on his youth: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution n.p.


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- And I learned very early (he was ten years, fh) how to make imitation of wood grain. This is something I have in common with Georges Braque. Braque also learned very early from his father how to imitate marble or wood grain. So I could easily make the appearance of oak or walnut on pine. That is very easy; a very simple technique. And I learned how to imitate marble. I never made such a good joke as Braque did. When he was in the Mediterranean he fooled his friends. He painted a rowboat that had wood on one side and marble on the other side. You see, when he'd row out of the city it looked as if he were in a boat of a different material than when he came back, you see, one side was imitation wood and the other side was imitation marble.
* artist quote, on his youth in Germany: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, Archives of American Art n.p.


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- I made my examination in Berlin in 1915. And I must say also that Berlin was for me in another way very important. At the time there were all these new movements – ‘Die Brucke’… …the ‘Blaue Reiter’, Walden of the "Storm" Gallery. Then Kassierer who bought the Chagalls, the first Chagalls that were ever seen in Europe were there. And there was ‘Die Brucke’. Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel, and Kirchner. You know we saw all that. Which was good. You see, Kassierer was then the man who bought the modern French painters. He had particularly Degas who I consider still today a very good painter, one of the best. But, anyway, in spite of my teaching my art was my concern. On the little money I had collected I lived in Berlin very cheaply, ate very cheaply. And already in 1920 I saved the first salaries I received to go to Munich… …So for the first time I saw the old masters, Rubens and all at the Alte Pinakothek.
* life quote, as young artist: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution n.p.


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- I had to go to the Bauhaus to the basic course that was given by Itten. And I submitted to that although I was a little older than Itten. But I have not the best memories of my studies there. So when that course was over everyone had to exhibit his work and then it was decided whether or not one could continue. I was accepted to continue. But I wanted to go into a workshop and I wanted to make stained glass. That was my old dream. Glass pictures. But Itten thought I was not ready for that. Certainly to delay my study in glass, Itten said, "Glass painting is a branch of wall painting and you should go first to our wall painting workshop," And I said, "That's nonsense. Wall painting has to do with reflected light and glass painting with direct light." So I said, "Sorry, I'll do my own stuff on my own." I had no money. Just a Rucksack and a hammer. And I started these assemblages. That was in 1921, But in all books on assemblages these things are not mentioned.
* his artist quote on Bauhaus period: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art n.p.


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- I made true the first English sentence (Albers came from Germany, fh) that I uttered (better stuttered) on our arrival at black Mountain College in November 1933 (right after the closing of the ‘Bauhaus’ art school in Germany, by the Nazi’s, fh) When a student asked me what I was going to teach I said: ‘to open eyes’. And this has become the motto of all my teaching (famous pupils of Joseph Albers at Black Mountain College were for instance Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson and Susan Weil ,fh)
* artist statement on his teaching: 'A conversation with Josef Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, ‘Leonardo’, Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- In 1923, when I had been a student at the ‘Bauhaus’ in Weimar, … …Gropius (the director, fh) asked me to teach the basic course ‘Werklehhre’. He wanted me to introduce newcomers to the principles of handicrafts. He knew that I came from that background and had appropriate practice and knowledge.
* artist quote on his Bauhaus teaching: 'A conversation with Josef Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, 'Leonardo', Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- I discovered soon that teaching has the handicap of retrospection. And that I don't believe in. So I started instead a method of handling material with the material itself. So that was my main change. Whereas Itten before (Itten left the Bauhaus in 1923 and Joseph Albers followed him as art teacher, fh) had only spoken about the appearance, "matiere" - (the French word) and I said I would turn from matiere, the outside, to the inside, to the capacity of the material, before the appearance. And that changed the attitude basically I think. And as I said, I'm quoted in that catalogue, I have gone from collage, what was in Itten's days of the main studies, collage (but not under that word) - I said, "I have gone from collage to montage." That is for me a basic change in attitude. And from that time on I have introduced construction in paper. What later also others have claimed to have done; it is not so.
* artist statement on the montage: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, n. p.


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- I did not teach painting but seeing. I concentrated on the basic courses for beginners. I taught drawing (purposely without nudes), color (without any painting as such) and design (as ‘structural organization’). And so the graduate students came ‘down’ to the basic courses for beginners.
* artist statement on art teaching: 'A conversation with Josef Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, 'Leonardo'' Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- This is what has (Gropius the director, fh) made the Bauhaus famous. Not its lamps or its furniture. They are all out of fashion already. But the way of approaching formal problems or material as such, that has made it famous. And the emphasis on material, especially its capacity is my contribution. That was never cleared between us teachers. Kandinsky did what he thought should be done. Klee developed an absolutely different method. Schlemmer developed absolutely something else. Klee was my so-called form master. In the workshops there they had a crafts master and a form master. The crafts master had to direct the practical work, the mechanics of the workshop. And the form master had to develop the, formal qualities. Klee was my form master in the glass workshop. He came to me and never criticized anything. He talked about something else. Never asked about any form problem with the windows I was working on. Never a word. He was too respectful. He was the nicest master I could ask for. He talked about exhibitions. He thought I should exhibit. That's another story. We had a good relationship because we never dealt with the same problems. He didn't attack our problems. He never brought up a problem.
* artist quote on Klee and Kandinsky on the Bauhaus: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


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- The concern of the artist is with the discrepancy between physical fact and psychological effect.
* source, artist statement: 'Albers Paints a Picture,' Elaine de Kooning, 'Art News' 49, November 1950, p. 40; as quoted in ''Abstract Expressionist Painting in America'', W.C, Seitz, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1983, p. 67


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- …Why do I have to have hundreds of studies of my "C-clefs" and select finally 30 of them? And why do I paint squares since 1959, in the same design, in the same arrangement; Because I do not see that there is, in any visual articulation, one final solution… …There science is dealing with physical facts, in art we are dealing with psychic effects. With this I come to my first statement: The source of art - that is, where it comes from - is the discrepancy between physical fact and psychic effect. That's what I'm talking about. When I want to speak about why I am doing the same thing now, which is squares, for - how long? - 19 years. Because there is no final solution in any visual formulation. Although this may be just a belief on my part, I have some assurances that that is not the most stupid thing to do, through Cézanne, whom I consider as one of the greatest painters. From Cézanne we have, so the historians tell us - 250 paintings of Mont St. Victoire. But we know that Cézanne has left in the fields often more than he took home because he was disappointed with his work. So we may conclude he did many more than 250 of the same problem.
* artist quote on Cezanne’s painting art: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, Art Archive Smithsonian Institution


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- But the principle underlying is "How can I have the same amount of this color compared with that color, with that color, and with that color." And there I want to try to get them as close in amount as possible. And to have them all built on a graph. You know how that came? You see this little one is the unit. I can count how many there are. And I have found out in most cases if that is 90, the first color, then my aim is that the, second color is also 90 units, and the third is 90, or 180, - equal or multiple. And then I found out that most of the time it is 90, the next one is 88 (2 less), the next one is 92 for that reason (2 more). And the next one is again 87, and the next 93. And then I found better order, that was during the war doing it in America. A colleague of mine was a chemist and physicist who worked in an atomic laboratory in Washington. And when she came back and asked me what I was doing, I said, "Well, I'm now concerned with quantities this time, one quantity towards another quantity, and the next, and this is double any of these." But I said it never works out that way - 80 and 80 and 80 and 80, it's always a little bit minus, a little bit plus and minus. She said, "Isn't that exciting; that's what we just found out in science, that is the principle of all atomic structure. The subdivisions are never equal. It's always off a plus, and less, and a more with the components we are dealing with." She said, "And it's most exciting that there is that discovery in art as it is in science." I said "This is a wonderful duplicity in events." That's a philosophical term, isn't it? Duplicity in events: What happens here as new, happens somewhere else just the same way. That's so exciting. That is one of the secrets of life. Why did I sometimes build a lamp in the Bauhaus and somebody comes from Holland and says, "Oh, somebody in Holland makes just the same lamp." Such duplicity shows that the time is ripe for a problem and thus it is in the air, and will be solved here - and there. With this we are finding the "creative process", for which somebody is coming to ask me about. I would say, "I paint because I have no time not to paint." That's my creative process.
* artist quote in duplicity in art and science: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


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- When we are honest - that's my saying - if we are honest then we will reveal ourselves. But we do not have to make an effort to be individualistic, different from others. You see that is the nonsense of the last 15, 20 years, the two decades, the great famous American decades of Abstract Expressionism, fh). What is wrong there is that everyone wants to be different from the already different ones. And then they ended up all alike. And we are tired of that. And the youngsters feel that now. And they don't continue, you see. They see this will not last. These exaggerated performers always speak in the highest dramatic voice. And in order to achieve it get always drunk before you come to action. Sick. It's over. So I'm quite critical against many of my colleagues. It is not their self-expression. What makes me to be more than my neighbor only when I think I have to say something more than he can. That is self-disclosure. I once gave a talk in Chicago and right in the beginning I said - a lady came to me and said, "You are against self-expression. And I am mad against you now." "And I'll stand upside down to demonstrate that, I said, "Stop the sentence. You are self-disclosing; you are not self-expressing."
* his critic on individualism in art: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art n.p.


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- I have received a question I have expected, "Don't you deal with accidents?" Yes, I deal with accidents, just as Arp admits it all the time. And I admit it, too. But I like to have them under my command and not sign them because they are accidents. If it remains only accident then sign it "accident" or "fate" or "the Lord", whatever you prefer. It's not you because you have not visioned it. You see visual formulation deals with vision, visual information and visual reaction. So I speak differently from all those who deliver themselves to uncontrolled accidents.
* artist quote, referring to Hans Arp: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


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- To some extent I follow my hand. Though I have a general idea where it may lead to. But I don't get senseless drunk and let just a brush and my elbow do it. There we have a terrific misunderstanding is also called movement. From this time of the last 15 years most are inclined to believe that when I let my elbow go the elbow grease produces movement. The movement of the arm was movement but the form that results as a result is after the arm is down is a fixed form, which is a stable, static, you see, just as wrong as the name for Calder's sculpture are not mobiles. Mobile is a furniture. We are mobiles. Because they never change their place. They use their elbows in the beginning in great surprise. And I don't tell you who gave that name. Purposely not. They are moving stabiles. Let's be precise with our words (his critic on 'expression' and 'self-expression', fh
* artist quote on Calder’s mobile concept: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, American Art Archive, Smithsonian Institution


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- (Sevim Fesci the interviewer is reading in the interview Albers’s text, fh): "Art is not to be looked at. Art is looking at us. What is art to others is not necessarily art to me. Nor for the same reason and vice versa. What was art to me or was not some time ago might have lost that value or gained it in the meantime and maybe again though art is not an object but experience. To be able to perceive it we need to be receptive. Therefore art is there where art meets us now. The content of art is visual formulation of our relation to life. The measure of art, the ratio of effort to effect, the aim of art revelation and evocation of vision."
* statement on art: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution n.p.


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- I would say, "My things have the look of icons." Unconsciously they look at you not as my face is now - you see me in profile - icons are only this way. And so are my paintings.
* artist quote on his art as icon: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian


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- I say all the time, if I sell that to you, you pay me for 3 colors. And I sell you 4, I betray you. Not to cheat you, but to pet you. You see I betray you in a positive way. I make you see more than there is. And that's in all my art that way. Absolutely something else. And that's what my book is about. You never see what you see. I lead you to see something else. And therefore I direct you. That's help.
* artist quote on betraying by his art: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art n.p.


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- I said, "Now come with me." I took her hand. And I had in that exhibition New York, around 1966, fh) a little chapel of my own, you know, the Albers Chapel it was called. In that exhibition there were exclusively 4 or 5 or 6 of my paintings and 2 of these were hanging at the entrance. And I said, "Now come stay here. Don't move. Don't move that way and don't move that way. But you will see that here you look upwards and here you look downwards. Here you look to the right and there you look to the left. You see, you don't need to be led by the hand to have that experience. You can stand in one point and I move you inside, period" You see, I don't need physical movement because I can move you psychologically. You see here that way again. You see here that way. You see here underneath. You see here above. And have not to move a bit. Just follow my "decepting" you, seducing you visually.
* artist quote on the Albers chapel: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)


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- I have not built any theory. I have only tried to build up sensitive eyes, as my book says. And I have tried to achieve that by aiming at very distinct color relationships again - like how do they influence each other? Change each other in light and in intensity, in transparency, opacity? How do they change each other in all different directions? That we make all the students aware, through experience, that color is the most relative medium in art, and that we never really see what we see. All neighboring means which occur every minute different, not only in changing light but also by our changing moods. And in the end, the study of color again is a study of ourselves. And to anyone today who tries to predict to me what two colors will do, I will say, "Please stop. I do not trust you. Because anyone who predicts the effect of colors proves that he has no experience with color." Color is fooling us, cheating us, deceiving us - you can call it if you want - all the time.
* his artist statement on art theory: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


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- That question is so big that there is no end (the relationship between colors and the source of light, fh). You see, they have just you cannot participate with it if you have not lubricated your eyes very thoroughly to see the little changes produced in our eye that has another action than any optical apparatus like photography. We must know that we have two ways of seeing. For instance, when-we are indoors another part of the retina is engaged compared with when we are outdoors. If we are in warm light or cool light, in higher light or lower light. Our eye is such a wonderful machine we cannot conceive that greatness that this little retina of our eye which is less than a square inch big has 157 million little particles, as an English scientist found out; and that they are working in different conditions differently. And recently, to learn that the only part of the human organism which has no blood pressure, blood increase and decrease, is the eye. Because the eye has no pulse. It would disturb the finesse of perception, it's amazing, so incredibly a great wonder, that we just have to shut up!
* an art quote on the relation between color and light: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives of American Art


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- Yes it was 1949. How I came to that (making his squares, fh)? That's like how one gets to know a human being. It so happens that I've always had a preference - as everyone has prejudices and preferences - for the square as a shape in preference to the circle as a shape. And I have known for a long time that a circle always fools me by not telling me whether it's standing still or not. And if a circle circulates you don't see it. The outer curve looks the same whether it moves or does not move. So the square is much more honest and tells me that it is sitting on one line of the four, usually a horizontal one, as a basis. And I have also come to the conclusion that the square is a human invention, which makes it sympathetic to me. Because you don't see it in nature. As we do not see squares in nature, I thought that it is man-made. But I have corrected myself. Because squares exist in salt crystals, our daily salt. We know this because we can see it in the microscope. On the other hand, we believe we see circles in nature. But rarely precise ones. Mature, it seems, is not a mathematician. Probably there are no straight lines either. Particularly not since Einstein says in his theory of relativity that there is no straight line, rod knows whether there are or not, I don't. I still like to believe that the square is a human invention. And that tickles me. So when I have a preference for it then I can only say excuse me.
* Albers' quote on the artworks: ‘Squares’: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the Archives, Smithsonian Institution


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- I think it's true, as many say, I have dealt for many years with the problems that Op art for instance art of Roy Lichtenstein, fh), so-called, is dealing with. For many years I have studied the logic and magic of color. And so I know what's involved when it comes to the interaction of colors, more than many who refuse to study it. But I found a way to study it, I think, that's all. And besides I refuse to be the father of a new bandwagon.
* his statement on Op Art: 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers', conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968


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- Every perception of colour is an illusion… ...we do not see colors as they really are. In our perception they alter one another. (remark around 1949, when he started his ‘Homage to the Square’ series, fh)
* quote on human perception:''Abstract Art'', Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson 1990, p. 14


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- I want color and form to have contradictorily functions.
* artist quote on the relation between form and color: 'Albers Paints a Picture,' Elaine de Kooning, Art News 49, November 1950, p. 57; as quoted in ''Abstract Expressionist Painting in America'', W.C, Seitz, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1983, p. 67


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- Amateurism is an emptiness and I accept it because it has no preconceived ideas or rules to be applied. This is for me (as a art teacher!, fh) a most welcome situation and I like to keep my students amateurs and dilettantes.
* statement on amateurism in art: 'A conversation with Joseph Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, ‘Leonardo’, Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- I have taught – until 10 years ago - for nearly 40 years, that is almost half of my life. And when I think that over – now afterwards -, I come to a surprising conclusion, namely that I did not teach arts as such, but philosophy and psychology of art.
* source, artist quote: 'A conversation with Josef Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, ‘Leonardo’, Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- I made true the first English sentence (Albers came from Germany, fh) that I uttered (better stuttered) on our arrival at black Mountain College in November 1933 (right after the closing of the ‘Bauhaus’ art school in Germany, by the Nazi’s, fh) When a student asked me what I was going to teach I said: ‘to open eyes’. And this has become the motto of all my teaching (famous pupils of Joseph Albers at Black Mountain College were for instance Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson and Susan Weil ,fh)
* his teaching statement: 'A conversation with Josef Albers', John H. Holloway and John A. Weil, ‘Leonardo’, Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 1970, MIT Press, p. 459


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- Anxiety is dead.
* source, artist quote: "Robert Rauschenberg, Works, Writings and Interviews", Sam Hunter, Ediciones Poligrafa, Barcelona, Spain, 2006, p. 10


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- A painter works to formulate with or in colors... ...My paintings follow the second option.
* source, artist quote: "De tweede Helft", Ad de Visser, SUN Nijmegen, Netherlands, 1998, p. 123


Josef Albers, not sourced quotes on color by the American artist, famous for his color theory

- To change sand in gold, that is my job. (art quote, Josef Albers)

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We hope you enjoyed
Josef Albers' artist quotes

editor, Fons Heijnsbroek
translation, Anne Porcelijn


American painter Josef / Joseph Albers: his biography facts by the American abstract painter, famous for his color theory andf art teaching

Josef Albers was a German-born American artist who created modern abstract art. Moreover he was a famous and respected art educator who became young already professor in 1923 at famous Bauhaus in Germany untill the Nazis closed the school. Albers emigrated to America in 1933 where he taught many young artists like Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly; he also invited Willem de Kooning to teach. His influence on the artists in American Abstract Expressionism was huge When the Nazi's closed the school, Albers emigrated in 1933 to America, as many German artists did because of growing Nazi pressure in Europe; Albers started a second artist life. In 1933 already he joined the faculty of ‘Black Mountain College’, North Carolina in the painting program until 1949. His students included some of the famous American abstract expressionist artists.

Albers’ work represents a transition between traditional European abstract art and the new developing modern abstract art in America after World War 2. In his art Albers incorporated European influences from constructivism and Bauhaus. He favored creating with a very disciplined approach to composition of forms following a theory on color, related to a challenging perception by people. In his later work he explored chromatic interactions with flat color squares, concentrically arranged, as he did in his series Hommage to the Square' as visual art statements. That’s why his influence is to recognize in later American artists, for example in the firm forms of the abstract Hard Edge art. A detailed biography of Josef Albers you find on Wikipedia, link at the botom.


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Josef Albers, some links for more biography / history facts, about his artist life and abstract art

* biography notes on life and modern abstract art by American artist, Josef Albers, art teacher at Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, on Wikipedia

* images of art created by Josef Albers: paintings and graphic, on Google

* Josef Albers interview with many biography notes on his life. teaching and creating art

* The Josef and Annie Albers Foundation: biography notes and art of Joseph and Annie Albers.

* quotes by Josef Albers, in Dutch language


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