Boston University Art Galleries

Boston University

Boston, MA




Josef Albers in Black and White


Best known as a master of the interactions of color, Josef Albers also regularly returned to the most minimal of palettes - black, white, and gray. By this strict limitation the artist challenged himself to create radically simple, yet visually harmonious images to produce, in his own words, "maximum effect from minimum means." The Boston University Art Gallery's upcoming exhibition, "Josef Albers in Black and White," running Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, April 9, 2000 includes more than 80 works - painting, drawings, prints, and photographs - spanning the artist's entire career. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 2, from 5 - 8 p.m.

Born in 1888 in the Ruhr region of Germany, Albers came to be world-renowned as a modernist painter, designer, teacher, and theoretician. He began his career at the Bauhaus, teaching metalwork, glass, furniture, typography, and design until the school was forced to close in 1933. He then fled Nazi Germany for the United States and taught at the newly established Black Mountain College in North Carolina until 1949. He then moved to Yale University, where he taught until his retirement in 1958, and where he began his most famous series of paintings, Homage to the Square. (left: Chairs, Summer, 1929, photocollage on cardboard, collection of Josef and Anni Albers Foundation)

The Boston University exhibition features paintings and prints leading up to and including the Homage to the Square paintings. On view will be black and white woodcuts and linoleum prints from the early 1930s; the monumental Bent Black and Dark Gray oil paintings of 1940-43; zinc lithographs and wood-grained prints from the mid-1940s; machine-engraved Structural Constellation: images on vinylite ca. 1950; Variant and Homage to the Square studies in oil from the late 1940s - 1960s; and Gray Instrumentation screen prints made just before Albers death in 1976. Also included are early representational graphite and ink drawings that pre-date Albers' turn to abstraction at the Bauhaus and photographs, primarily from the 1920s and '30s.

The work in the exhibition is drawn from extensive collections of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut, with additional loans from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C.; the Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut; the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts; and private collections in and around Boston.

A 92-page, fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays by Boston University Gallery director, John Stomberg; Gallery curator, Karen Haas; and Brenda Danilowitz, curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. The Humanities Foundation of Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School, and the Goethe Institut of' Boston have generously supported the exhibition and catalogue. A related exhibition of paintings and prints by the highly regarded American artist Neil Welliver, who was a student of Albers, is on view concurrently at Boston University's 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Avenue.

Read more about the Boston University Art Galleries in Resource Library Magazine.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 12/27/10

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