© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

These two works (BR67.2 and BR63.28) from Albers’s series Homage to the Square exemplify his idea of art as a type of research. For each, Albers used the same basic format of nested squares, rendered in different media and sizes, to test various color combinations. He considered the series, which he returned to throughout his career, as a means to examine the logic of color and perception. Albers compiled his theories in the 1963 book Interaction of Color, a pedagogical text that quickly became — and remains today — an essential resource for art and design students. A teacher at the Bauhaus, the influential German design school eventually closed by the Nazis, Albers left Germany in 1933, when he was invited to teach at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. He subsequently taught at Yale, Harvard, and Pratt, among other schools. For American artists, designers, and architects, Albers served as an essential link to the pre–World War II avant-garde and the legacies of the Bauhaus. His experiments with materiality, opticality, and color reverberated in 1960s American art, from the pulsating surfaces of post-painterly abstraction to the perceptual experiments of conceptual art.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
BR63.28
People
Josef Albers, American (Bottrop, Germany 1888 - 1976 New Haven, Conn.)
Title
Homage to the Square: Against Deep Blue
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1955
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/223024
Location
Level 1, Room 1110, Modern and Contemporary Art, Mid–century Abstraction II
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on Masonite
Dimensions
61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in.)
framed: 62.5 x 62.4 x 3 cm (24 5/8 x 24 9/16 x 1 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: on recto, l.r.: A 55
  • inscription: verso, u.r., black felt tip, signed, in artist's hand: Homage to the Square: "Against Deep Blue" / Albers 1955
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Anonymous gift
Copyright
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
1963
Object Number
BR63.28
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 16, repr.

Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 90, ill.

Exhibition History

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

19th- and 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 02/08/1982

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 08 Rotation 1), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 10/19/2008

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 09 Rotation 1), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/02/2009 - 10/12/2009

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 10 Rotation 1), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/10/2010 - 10/09/2010

Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1110 Mid-Century Abstraction II (Post-Painterly Abstraction), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu