Josef Albers

(1888-1976)
Lot 196
Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square: Unhurried
Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000
Price Realized: $287,500
November 18, 2018
Lot 197
Josef Albers
Ten Variants
Estimate: $12,000 - $15,000
Price Realized: $15,000
November 18, 2018
Lot 198
Josef Albers
Interaction of Color
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $4,375
November 18, 2018
Lot 161
Josef Albers
I-S Va 6 (from Six Variants)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $2,375
September 30, 2018
Lot 172
Josef Albers
Gray Instrumentation I (12)
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Price Realized: $37,500
February 25, 2018
Lot 161
Josef Albers
Concerned
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $5,000
October 22, 2017
Lot 162
Josef Albers
Formulation: Articulation
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $8,125
October 22, 2017
Lot 163
Josef Albers
White Line Square VIII (from White Line Squares Series I)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $10,625
October 22, 2017
Lot 164
Josef Albers
Variant IX (from Ten Variants)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $1,875
October 22, 2017
Lot 109
Josef Albers
I-S Va 5 (from Six Variants)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $3,125
May 21, 2017
Lot 110
Josef Albers
Gray Instrumentation Ik (from Gray Instrumentation I)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $4,375
May 21, 2017
Lot 282
Josef Albers
Tenuous, Full, Reserved, and Joy (from Homage to the Square: Ten Works by Josef Albers) (4)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $6,250
March 5, 2017
Lot 241
Josef Albers
I-S VV I
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $3,125
October 9, 2016
Lot 232
Josef Albers
White Line Square VI (from White Line Squares Series)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $4,687
May 22, 2016
Lot 233
Josef Albers
White Line Square VIII (from White Line Squares Series)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $2,125
May 22, 2016
Lot 234
Josef Albers
White Line Square IV (from White Line Squares Series)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $1,500
May 22, 2016
Lot 235
Josef Albers
White Line Square II (from White Line Squares Series)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $3,750
May 22, 2016
Lot 289
Josef Albers
JHM - II (from Josef Albers Honors the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $2,812
October 11, 2015
Lot 302
Josef Albers
Umschlungen/Encircled
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $5,625
March 1, 2015
Lot 303
Josef Albers
WLS XVI (from White Line Squares) (Series II)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $1,875
March 1, 2015
Lot 304
Josef Albers
WLS X (from White Line Squares) (Series II)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $1,875
March 1, 2015
Lot 13
Josef Albers
WLS XIII (White Line Squares Series II)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $6,250
October 12, 2014
Lot 14
Josef Albers
Hommage au Carre (Hommage au Carre series)
Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000
Price Realized: $3,437
October 12, 2014
Lot 157
Josef Albers
Intaglio Solo V
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $2,500
May 18, 2014
Lot 132
Josef Albers
White Line Square XI (from White Line Squares, Series II)
Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000
Price Realized: $3,750
February 23, 2014
Lot 133
Josef Albers
Variant IV (from Ten Variants)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $2,250
February 23, 2014
Lot 134
Josef Albers
Variant III (from Ten Variants)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $1,875
February 23, 2014
Lot 209
Josef Albers
Embossed Linear Constructions (ELC) (8)
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Price Realized: $11,250
October 13, 2013
Lot 219
Josef Albers
I-S Va 6 (from Six Variants)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $3,125
October 13, 2013
Lot 321
Josef Albers
White Line Square IX (from White Line Squares)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $5,312
May 19, 2013
Lot 427
Josef Albers
Intaglio Duo F
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,125
October 7, 2012
Lot 3
Josef Albers
White Line Square III (White Line Squares series)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $4,062
May 6, 2012
Lot 4
Josef Albers
White Line Square I (White Line Squares series)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $2,500
May 6, 2012
Lot 432
Josef Albers
Variant II (from Ten Variants)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,062
December 11, 2011
Lot 17
Josef Albers
MMA 3 - Variant & MMA Pillars (2 works)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $3,062
October 9, 2011
Lot 28
Josef Albers
Prefatio
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $5,818
October 17, 2010
Lot 401
Josef Albers
Inter Linear K50
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $3,960
June 29, 2008
Lot 404
Josef Albers
Day + Night, V
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $3,900
June 29, 2008
Lot 332
Josef Albers
White Line Squares (WLX XIII)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $1,680
February 10, 2008
Lot 71
Josef Albers
White Embossing on Gray IX
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,560
October 14, 2007
Lot 72
Josef Albers
White Embossing on Gray V
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,440
October 14, 2007

About The Artist

Born in 1888 in Bottrop, Germany, Josef Albers began his career as a primary school art teacher. Albers then worked as a printmaker and stained-glass artisan, taking on several prominent public commissions from 1916 to 1919. The artist enrolled at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1920 and excelled at the stained-glass medium. In 1923, Albers was invited to teach the Bauhaus’ preliminary course, and in 1925 became a “master” artist at the school. It was at this point that Albers began to focus on painting, and on a technique that prioritized primary colors and abstract rectilinear patterns. The architect Walter Gropius, who established the Bauhaus in 1919, was convinced of the need to abolish the distinction between fine and applied arts. The school was thus designed as a workshop with an emphasis on the study and use of material. Reflecting this system, Albers’ works championed practical painting methods that advanced channels for studying and, more importantly, teaching color.

When the Nazi regime shut down the Bauhaus in 1933, Albers left Germany for the United States. Along with his wife Anni, who was herself a Bauhaus graduate and prominent weaver, Albers began teaching art at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There, Albers developed a fine arts curriculum that is credited with “revolutionizing art education in America” and mentored countless prominent artists, including Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. During this period Albers made numerous trips to Mexico and became fascinated with the architectural silhouettes of the Mesoamerican flat-top pyramids. These encounters are said to have had a lasting impression on Albers’ work. In 1950, Albers left Black Mountain College for Yale University. At the same time, the artist began working on the first iteration of his iconic Homage to the Square series, featuring concentric squares that mimic the bird’s-eye view outline of a stepped pyramid. Albers resisted masking in this series and instead painted the hard edges free-hand, and he rarely mixed his paints, most often using shades available directly from the tube.

Much in the way of other mid-century abstractionists, Albers sought to maximize the viewer’s subjectivity by excluding all manner of representation or imitation. While Minimalism includes many different variations of its aesthetic, the movement’s core simplified shapes and repetitive pictorial relationships are indebted to Albers’ influence. Prior to Albers’ work, color was predominantly treated as a subordinate vehicle for form and content. By simplifying his form, however, to the canvas’ most basic shape, the square, Albers investigated the ways in which color can be the primary agent of artistic expression. The Homage to the Square series therefore isolates color to test its inherent qualities and to establish “aesthetic absolutes.” With the decongested picture-plane, the viewer’s eye becomes free to appreciate color’s morphing character which, at different times, can appear to move and blur. In Albers’ extensive body of literature, which includes The Interaction of Color (1963), the artist discusses the optical effects of reducing painting to pure expressions of “hue, tone, and intensity.” Works from the Homage to the Square series were presented at the first ever solo exhibition given to a living artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1971.

Today, Albers’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, and the Tate Gallery, among many others.

Gilderhus, Kirsten E. Homage to the Pyramid: Josef Albers in Mexico, The University of Wisconsin - Madison, Ann Arbor, 2011.

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