The Post-War & Contemporary Works of Art auction at Bonhams will feature an exquisite work titled Homage to the Square: “Suspended” by Josef Albers. It is estimated to fetch $300,000 – 500,000.
Known as “The Square Man,” Albers made more than 1,000 paintings during his Homage to the Square series, dating from 1950 until his death in 1976. His works reveals an innovative investigation into artistic abstraction and the power of color – its ability to communicate and mutate for each viewer. Painted in 1953, “Suspended,” in particular, represents Albers’ 25-year examination of color and its optical and compositional components. According to Megan Murphy, Head of Sale of the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department at Bonhams, this work “is a breathtaking example of Albers’ exploration of color – a deliberate and calculated assessment of its core nature and how just slight variations reveal the pigments’ unique mutability.”
Not only was Albers a celebrated artist and art theorist, but he was also a contributor to the realm of academia. At the newly established Bauhaus where he was enrolled in 1920, he became the first student to join the faculty. There, he was surrounded by fellow artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.
In 1933, he moved to the United States to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Greatly influenced by his experience at the Bauhaus Institution, his students, including Ruth Asawa, Ray Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, were taught to investigate their own relationship with medium and all its aspects.
Around the time that he became a faculty member at Yale in 1950, Albers began to explore his theories on color through his Homage to the Square series. Such unwrapping of artistic theory can be seen in “Suspended”, where Albers pushes to explain and understand the subjective nature of color – how it changes and communicates with differing shades. When asked about the importance placed on the viewer, Albers noted that they are the vessel in which art is processed, whereas painterly elements “demonstrate that true mobility is not achieved by making an object move but making an object that makes us move – besides moving us.”
Through his teachings Albers introduced generations of American artists to the Modernist concepts of the Bauhaus, while his experimentation with the interactions of color and geometric shapes transformed the Contemporary art scene altogether