This work is recorded in the archives of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Josef Albers devoted well over two decades of his career to his celebrated series Homage to the Square. His paintings, at first glance, appear simplistic if not formulaic. Closer inspection of works like Homage to the Square: Stage Light though reveal these paintings to be profound in their exploration of color theory, planar manipulation and pure beauty. Albers has said of his paintings, "they move forth and back, in and out, and grow up and down and near and far, as well as enlarged and diminished. All this, to proclaim color autonomy as a means of plastic organization"(J. WiBmann, "Josef Albers' Homages to the Square as the Unity of Rationality and Sensitivity," Josef Albers, London, 1989, p. 21). Albers paintings' formal compositions are so similar because there is no limit to the variations that can be achieved, each resulting in a completely different result.
Though Albers titled his paintings Homage to the Square his employment of the square is no more than a vehicle to explore colors, how they relate to each other and, specifically, how that affects the perception of those colors. He wrote in his seminal book Interaction of Color, "We are able to hear a single tone. But we almost never (that is, without special devices) see a single color and unrelated to other colors. Colors present themselves in continuous flux, constantly related to changing neighbors and changing conditions" (J. Albers, Interaction of Color, New Haven, 1971, p. 5).
Homage to the Square: Stage Light contrasts green, teal, gray and yellow. The yellow placed against the drabber gray and teal explodes off the canvas only contained by the brilliance of the emerald green. The visual affect is that of an accordion as the yellow and green move toward the foreground and the teal and gray recede.
The movement of Albers paintings, created by the contrasting colors, is remarkable in that it fundamentally undermines the obdurate form of the square. What is usually viewed as a static form takes on an elasticity and dynamism that almost obscures the fact that Albers' paintings are made up of squares.