Homage to the Square: Lone Light
oil on masonite
45,7 × 45,7 cm
(photo from the website of The Albers Foundation)
Josef Albers had no theories about color. Also he made this interesting point about color combinations: “independent of harmony rules, any color ‘goes’ or ‘works’ with any color, presupposing that their quantities are appropriate”. In his works and writings, Albers evokes to develop an eye for color. He describes ways to learn about color through experience – by the method of trial and error in his famous publication 'Interaction of Color' (1963).
In order to make color to a concrete factor that we can see, it needs a form, a shape or outline. Albers made the ingenious discovery that the square as a form could be subservient to color. He made a basic composition of three or four squares set inside one another, on masonite. This form gave him the freedom to be concerned only with color; he named it 'Homage to the Square'. In 1950, at the age of sixty-two, Albers developed this concept and would continue working on it for twenty-six years, until his death in 1976. 'Homage to the Square' would become his most important body of work. Everything I’ve learned about color started by looking at 'Homage to the Square'.
(In January 2017 'The Art Section - An Online Journal of Art and Cultural Commentary', published a special issue on Josef Albers. For this edition I wrote an essay about Albers and color: 'Color is a Whole World' and here I quoted from this essay)
In 2011 I was artist in residence at The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany CT, USA. Being so close I also discovered that his work tells: it is not about me. And this I think, is one of the important aspects in art: it is not about me.....
José Heerkens, April 2017
José Heerkens (NL)
oil on linen
150 x 150 cm
(photo: Willem Kuijpers)