Modern artist's life seen through 'interactive' screenprints

Published: 2 April 2009 at 16:04

The work Josef Albers is on show at the Ruskin Gallery

Josef Albers Screenprints

25th April – 23rd May

Monday – Friday 9am-9pm

Saturdays 10am-5pm

As an artist and teacher, Josef Albers (1888-1976) exerted an enormous influence on the history of modern art in Europe and America. This National Touring Exhibition from the Hayward Gallery presents an overview of Albers’s career, from his early geometrical abstractions at the Bauhaus to his famous experiments with colour in the Homages to the Square series. Josef Albers: Screen Prints comes to Anglia Ruskin University’s Ruskin Gallery, a part of the Cambridge School of Art, on 25 April.

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Square Man’, Albers is best known for his Homages to the Square series, which he began in 1950 and continued until his death. He made over a thousand Homages paintings and prints in four formats that gave colour a unique emphasis. He referred to them as ‘the dish I serve my craziness about color in.’

This exhibition of silk-screen prints has been selected from a portfolio called Formulation: Articulation, designed and produced under Albers’s direction in 1972. It includes works from all the major series of his life: the Homages (1950-1975), Graphic Tectonics (1941-42), Structural Constellations (1949-76) and Variants (1947-55). 

Born in Germany, Josef Albers taught at the innovative school of art and architecture, the Bauhaus, in Weimar (1920-33) where he was a colleague of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. After the Bauhaus was closed in 1933 by the Nazis, Albers settled in America and taught at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1933-49), and later at Yale University (1950-58). His later work and theories profoundly influenced American Minimalist artists like Donald Judd, Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt. 

However, Albers was never associated with any artistic movement. He believed in diversity and variability more/over…– he used to say that no two people pictured the same colour upon hearing the word ‘red’.  After he retired he published his teachings in The Interaction of Color (1963), which is generally regarded as one of the most important 20th-century contributions to the understanding of colour.

Located in the heart of Cambridge, the Ruskin Gallery aims to serve Anglia Ruskin University, and the broader community, by presenting a diverse range of high quality exhibitions . The Ruskin Gallery is free to enter and exhibitions are open to everyone six days a week.

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