This lot may be exempt from Sales Tax, as set forth in the Sales Tax Notice at the back of this catalogue.
After twenty years of exploring his Homage to the Square series, Albers is remembered to have said, "I'm not done yet. I have to try new variations" (quoted in W. Schmied, "Fifteen Notes on Josef Albers", Josef Albers, exh. cat., The Mayor Gallery, London, 1989, p. 8). Hardly an academic exercise, the paintings defy their potential for repetition through their exploration of color and color relationships.
Homage to the Square: Obvious is an exploration of yellow and white. Its size, Albers' largest format, contributes to the vibrant impact of the colorful squares. Albers combination of the related colors, and the insertion of the white square in between, results in a redefinition of how the colors themselves are perceived. Albers once described how inefficient verbal language is to describe color, pointing out that there are only approximately thirty plus words for colors while there are innumerable variations of color. Each variation falls under the same headings of "Red", "Yellow" or "Blue". Albers stated: "All perception of color is deceiving. We don't see colors as they really are. We may perceive two different colors to look alike, or two equal colors to look different or opaque ones to appear translucent. This game of colors -the change of identity- is the object of my study" (quoted in J. Wißmann, "Josef Albers' Homage to the Square as the Unity of Rationality and Sensitivity", Iosef Albers, exh. cat., The Mayor Gallery, London, 1989, p. 21).
Therein lies the crux of Albers' painting. He questions the viewer's perception of the world. What are the contextual cues that lead us in one direction of perception or another? And how is one person or thing defined against another? Albers said,
"I think art parallels life: it is not a report on nature or an intimate disclosure of inner secrets. Color, in my opinion, behaves like man- in two distinct ways: first in self-realization and then in the realizations relationships with others. In my paintings I have tried to make two polarities meet - independence and inter-dependence. In other words, one must contribute both being an individual and being a member of society, that's a parallel." (Ibid, p. 23.).