Today marks the 124th birthday of German abstract painter Josef Albers. Known for influencing the new generation of American abstract painters, Albers' "hard-edged" form of color painting came to embody what "abstract art" meant in the 21st-century.
For some critics, Albers' predictable presentation of situating varying colors nestled within geometric patterns was monotonous and repetitive, but for Albers, the common theme allowed him to get the maximum effectiveness out of his chosen colors.
The New York Times noted that Albers once told an interviewer"Just putting colors together is the excitement of it." He continued, "The way green submits to blue for instance, or vice-versa. What interests me is the way they marry, interpenetrate and produce the baby, the color that is their product together."
Albers' role as a teacher at the Bauhaus school in Germany paved the way for his life-long commitment to arts education, acting as mentor to such notable artists as Robert Rauschenberg and Eva Hesse. Just five years prior to his death in 1976 Albers created the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, an arts initiative that not only represents the estates of Albers and his late wife, Anni, but also supports exhibitions and publications on Albers' work.
Happy Birthday to an incredible artist and influential mentor! See a slideshow of his work below, and let us know what you think in the comments section.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article listed the name "Joseph Albers" instead of "Josef Albers."
Variant / Adobe, Red, Violet around Orange, Pink, 1948 Oil on masonite
Homage to the Square "Guarded", 1952 Oil on masonite
Skyscrapers on Transparent Yellow, 1929 Sandblasted glass with black paint
Kandinsky Fruhjahr 1929 Meister auf Terasse bei H.M. Mai '30 1929/30 Two photographs of Wassily Kandinsky mounted on board
Hotel Staircase Geneva, 1929 Two photographs mounted on board
Josef Albers in his studio in 1952.