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Josef Albers
JHM - II /// Bauhaus Abstract Geometric Josef Albers Screenprint Minimalism

1973

About the Item

Artist: Josef Albers (German-American, 1888-1976) Title: "JHM - II" Portfolio: Josef Albers Honors the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden *Monogram signed and dated by Albers in pencil lower right Year: 1973 Medium: Original Screenprint on German Etching paper Limited edition: HC 8/22, (a hors commerce impression aside from the standard edition of 144) Printer: Sirocco Screenprints, New Haven, CT Publisher: Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, CT Reference: "The Prints of Josef Albers: A Catalogue Raisonné 1915-1976" - Danilowitz No. 224.2, page 162 Framing: The sheet is laid down to acid free foamboard backing, framed within a custom plexiglass box frame with hand welded aluminum stretchers and recently added contemporary white maple moulding Framed size: 26.5" x 36.63" Sheet size: 25" x 35" Image size: 15.13" x 15.07" Condition: The largest outer square attenuated with minor craquelure. One faint scuff mark lower left inside smallest square. Light cosmetic wear to plexiglass box frame. In otherwise very good condition with clean paper, full margins, and impressive provenance Rare Notes: Provenance: one owner ever - private collection - Wellesley, MA / Sarasota, FL; acquired from Harcus Krakow Rosen Sonnabend Gallery, Boston, MA in 1975 retaining their original gallery label and bill of sale. Titled and numbered by Albers in pencil lower left. Comes from Albers' 1973 "Josef Albers Honors the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden" portfolio of 2 screenprints. Published for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.. Ives-Sillman chop mark/blind stamp lower right. These prints from the "Josef Albers Honors the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden" portfolio were produced for HKL, Ltd., Boston, MA and Parasol Press, New York, NY on behalf of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution to commemorate its opening. The initials "JHM" in the inscribed title refer to "Joseph Hirshhorn Museum". HKL, Ltd. was an art publisher created by Portia Harcus, Barbara Krakow, and Vera List. "JHM - II", 1973 is featured on the front cover jacket illustration of "The Prints of Josef Albers: A Catalogue Raisonné 1915-1976", first edition from 2001. Biography: Josef Albers, (born March 19, 1888, Bottrop, Ger.—died March 25, 1976, New Haven, Conn., U.S.) painter, poet, sculptor, teacher, and theoretician of art, important as an innovator of such styles as Colour Field painting and Op art. From 1908 to 1920 Albers studied painting and printmaking in Berlin, Essen, and Munich and taught elementary school in his native town of Bottrop. In 1920 he enrolled at the newly formed Bauhaus, which was to become the most important design school in Germany. His most important creations of that period included compositions made of coloured glass, as well as examples of furniture design, metalwork, and typography. After 1925, when he became a “master” at the Bauhaus, Albers explored a style of painting characterized by the reiteration of abstract rectilinear patterns and the use of primary colours along with white and black. In 1933, when the Nazi government closed the Bauhaus, Albers left Germany for the United States. On the recommendation of architect Philip Johnson, Albers organized the fine-arts curriculum at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he taught until 1949. The next year he began a 10-year tenure as chairman of the art department of Yale University. Over the course of his time at these two schools, he counted among his students Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kenneth Noland. After moving to the United States, Albers concentrated on several series of works that systematically explored the effects of perception. In his series of engravings on plastic Transformations of a Scheme (1948–52) and in the series of drawings Structural Constellations (1953–58), he created complex linear designs, each subject to many possible spatial interpretations. His best-known series of paintings, Homage to the Square (begun in 1950 and continued until his death), restricts its repertory of forms to coloured squares superimposed onto each other. The arrangement of these squares is carefully calculated so that the colour of each square optically alters the sizes, hues, and spatial relationships of the others. These works were exhibited worldwide and formed the basis of the first solo exhibition given to a living artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, in 1971. He died in 1976.
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