Homage to the Square: Stepped FoliageEnlarge image

Homage to the Square: Stepped Foliage, 1963

Josef Albers
German, American, 1888 - 1976
oil on masonite
122 x 121.7 cm
Gift of J. Ronald Longstaffe, Vancouver, 1975
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18525)
© Estate of Joseph Albers / SODRAC (2017)

Influential as a teacher, designer, photographer and graphic artist, Josef Albers was a major figure in the development of modern art and design. He is best known for his work as an abstract painter and for his theories on the perceptual interaction of colours. His series "Homage to the Square" (1949–76) explores how different colour combinations are able to create an endless array of visual effects. Restricting himself to four solid hues per canvas, he applied paint directly from the tube onto Masonite, nestling each precisely measured square into the next, creating perfectly flat yet luminous compositions. In "Stepped Foliage" the outer three squares draw us into the core of the painting, while the central square appears to radiate outward, eliciting a pulsing or vibrating sensation.






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