Josef Albers – Homage to the Square

November 29, 2011 — 10 Comments

Josef Albers homage to the square 01


Did you know that Josef Albers (March 19, 1888 – March 25, 1976) was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century?

I didn’t before but now I do … because I now have two Josef Albers prints in my house. (Air-Five!)


Josef Albers in my house


So this is my house – well at least the entry way of my house and these are the two recently retrieved and framed Josef Albers prints that I picked up. My wife and I have been trying to decide for a loooong time (i.e. can’t agree) what to place on our walls … other than paint. The differences between my wife and I have more to do with priority than content so she suggested some Josef Albers prints.


We can afford something like that?


Josef Albers Homage to the Square detail


As it turns out, we both are fans of abstract art and since our house is almost entirely brown and white, we really needed some strong splashes of color. Enter Albers Homage to the Square series of paintings. While accomplished as a photographer, printmaker, designer, and poet, Albers is probably best remembered for his work as an abstract painter and theorist. The Homage to the Square series of paintings was started in 1949 and over his life, Albers painted hundreds of these rigorous chromatic interactions with flat colored squares arranged concentrically.

I will admit that I had never heard of Josef Albers until my friend Morgan Satterfield over at The Brick House scored a numbered Josef Albers lithograph for $4.99 at a Goodwill shop. [sigh] Except hers is the real deal and mine is just a high quality reproduction.


Aaron Brothers framing.

One thing that goes really far in my book is quality framing and I took these over to Aaron Brothers Art & Framing. They always do an amazing job and despite the frames and museum glass costing as much as the prints themselves, the quality of the frame job conveys the quality of the art. There are few things that make me sadder than seeing someone frame “art” with something cruddy – like old fence boards (I’ve actually seen that one) or nothing at all.


If you will indulge me a comparison – I tell people working in my office that the effort and care they put into their construction drawings sends a message to the contractor. You slap something together with little consideration or coordination and the contractor is going to think you don’t care if he actually pays attention to your content (because you obviously don’t).  But on the other hand, a well drawn and organized set of documents certainly sends a message that you care – care enough that the contractor realizes you will probably be paying attention to the work his is doing.  Framing your art properly is a little like that. Sorta.


Josef Alber Homage to the Square detail


The type of art you have in your house says something about you … and the art on my fridge says something about my daughter. I know I have a long way to go still but this is a step in the right direction.




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  • whitfield thomas

    These prints are beautiful. Where did you get them??

    • after looking around in thrift shops and small galleries, we settled on prints from the store ‘Room and Board’

  • LF

    where did you get them?

  • JSP

    We are really enjoying your blog.  Keep up the great writing.

  • Notserp5790

    I love these prints. Full disclosure: I kind of hate framing art work. Does this make me a terrible person or just a terrible architect?

    • neither – no frame is better than a bad frame (although a framed piece looks more complete and finished to me)

  • Could not agree more on the importance of good framing.  The eye does not disconnect one from the other when you’re looking at a piece of art.  Either it works, or it doesn’t.

  • Love it! I always get excited about new art in the house. For now, it’s mainly my own paintings & drawings, and some of my kids’ art (that I have framed) in my apartment. I do have a couple of original etchings from South Africa, which I had professionally framed, and they are great statement pieces in my living room. Lately I’ve had to find art work for a few clients – nothing super high budget, which limits one to prints, of course, and I must say I am very impressed with
    Check it:
    Their framing services are top quality, and for people in the trade they offer a decent discount.
    Just yesterday I pitched this one to a client: (want!!!)
    Since I studied art and art history growing up, and loving every bit of it, this doesn’t seem like work to me. Looking forward to one day expanding my own collection as well!

    • Hi Adele,

      I cruise on from time to time, I do like that site. In the past, we only thought about buying what we were able to see in person. I’m not a post/ print fan typically, opting instead for numbered lithographs when I can afford them (and the rare original that I like AND can afford).

      One day…  🙂