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Exhibitions | Past

Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper
July 20 through October 14, 2012

Josef Albers, Color Study for White Line Square, oil on blotting paper with gouache, pencil and varnish, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, inv. no. 1976.2.22.

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Josef Albers (1888–1976) is best known for his series of paintings, Homage to the Square, in which he endlessly explored color relationships within a similar format of concentric squares. Less well-known are the studies he made for these compositions. With approximately eighty oil sketches on paper, this exhibition will reveal a private side of Albers's work. These sketches were never exhibited in the artist's lifetime and have rarely been seen after his death.

On view will be early studies (1930s–early 1940s), studies for Albers's Adobe series, inspired by Mexican architecture (1940s–early 1950s), and studies for Homage to the Square (1950s–1970s). These vibrant sketches provide insights into the artist's working process and, in contrast with the austerity and strict geometry of the final paintings, are remarkable for their freedom and sensuality.

Works are drawn from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut and the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop, Germany. The exhibition, which is traveling to multiple venues in Europe before coming to the Morgan (the only U.S. venue), is organized by the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich and the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop.

This exhibition is generously supported by The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and the Rita Markus Fund for Exhibitions, and by contributions from Mickey Cartin, Nancy Schwartz, Carroll Janis, Inc. and The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.

Related Programs:

Gallery Talk
Josef Albers: Painting on Paper
Friday, July 20, 7 p.m.

Josef Albers: At Home and At Work
Friday, September 21, 6:30 p.m.

Josef and Anni Albers: Art is Everywhere
Friday, October 5, 7 p.m.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.