* JOSEF ALBERS’ “INTERACTION OF COLOR” ("IOC")
COLOR THEORY COURSE
NOTE: The Interaction of Color course offered in the web site is the complete course. Because of time constraints, the most outstanding and important studies have been selected for IHA's Honors Studio Art Course. Consult the "IOC IHA STUDIES CHECKLIST" link for IHA-offered studies and their due dates. For the course's complete CHECKLIST, the link is "COMPLETE INTERACTION OF COLOR COURSE INDEX & CHECKLIST".
with additions by John Day, Jane Garnes, and their students
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
IMAGE SOURCES from left to right:
"An elementary school teacher for twelve years, and an instructor at the Bauhaus from 1923 until 1933, Josef Albers was one of the most influential artist-educators to immigrate to the United States during the 1930s. Following early academic training at the Royal Art School in Berlin (1913--15), the Kunstgewerbeschul in Essen (part-time from 1916--19), and the Art Academy in Munich (1919--20), Albers turned in 1920 to the innovative atmosphere of the Weimar Bauhaus. There he began his experimental work as an abstract artist. After three years as a student, he was hired to teach the famed Vorkurs , the introductory class that immersed students in the principles of design and the behavior of materials.
Albers was convinced that students needed to develop an understanding of "the static and dynamic properties of materials . . . through direct experience." His students made constructions with wire netting, matchboxes, phonograph needles, razor blades, and other unusual materials. They also visited workshops where craftsmen worked daily with the structural and behavioral characteristics of industrial and natural materials. 
In his own work, Albers investigated color theory and composition. He began to explore mathematical proportions as a way to achieve balance and unity in his art. Yet, Albers did not aim to be a purely analytical painter. Although he had not taken classes with either Klee or Kandinsky as a Bauhaus student, and did not profess metaphysical concerns, Albers believed that "Art is spirit, and only the quality of spirit gives the arts an important place in . . . life."
Albers had come to his own brand of abstraction over the course of many years. By 1908 he had discovered Matisse and Cézanne, and in Berlin he encountered work by Munch, van Gogh, the German Expressionists, Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists. Initially an Expressionist, Albers began experimenting with abstract principles and unusual materials about 1923. His glass assemblages of these formative years explored the possibilities of stained, sand-blasted, and constructed arrangements. They are remarkable for their deft incorporation of such "accidental" effects as ripples and bubbles---inherent in the medium itself---into sophisticated designs that explored the balance, translucence, and opacity.
Albers had weathered Bauhaus moves from Weimar to Dessau, and then to Berlin, remaining steadfast even after Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy left in 1928. In 1933, when the Nazis forced the closing of the Berlin Bauhaus, Albers left for America where he introduced Bauhaus concepts of art and design to the newly formed experimental community of Black Mountain College in North Carolina.
IMAGE SOURCES from left to right: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/images/2005/09/19/josef_albers_b_203_203x152.jpg,
After fifteen years he left Black Mountain, and in 1950 became chairman of the Department of Design at Yale. On Tideland , painted between 1947 and 1955, marks this transition and was painted concurrently with the earliest examples of his well-known series, Homage to the Square .
"Homage to a Square" was a lifelong interest in creating ideas developed from the same theme. It is often called variations on a theme.
IMAGE SOURCES from left to right:
Albers, always a careful craftsman, was concerned that future generations understand his working methods. He often documented, on the reverse of the fiberboard panels he preferred for his paintings, the pigments, brands, varnishes, and grounds he had used in making the painting. Fascinating notations document his spatial proportions and the mathematic schemes he incorporated in each work. On Tideland , for example, was painted according to "Scheme M," in which twenty units of vertical form balance thirty units of horizontal form. Although concerned with a severely restricted format in his own work, Albers admitted other approaches: "Any form [of art] is acceptable if it is true," he stated. "And if it is true, it's ethical and aesthetic." 
An original member of the American Abstract Artists, Albers showed annually throughout the group's formative years. "
1. Josef Albers, "Concerning
Fundamental Design," in Herbert Bayer, Walter Gropius, and Ise Gropius, eds.,
Bauhaus: 1919--1928 (Boston: Charles T. Branford Co., 1959), pp. 114--121.
2. Josef Albers, "A Note on the Arts in Education," American Magazine of Art (April 1936): 233.
3. Katharine Kuh, "Josef Albers," in The Artists Voice: Talks with Seventeen Artists (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), p. 12.
Source: Virginia M. Mecklenburg. "The Patricia and Phillip Frost Collection: American Abstraction, 1930-1945" (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art and Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), pp. 26-28. Copyright 1989 Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.
LEARNING NEVER ENDS
On September 12, 1980, there was a postage stamp issued with Albers' famous statement, "Learning Never Ends" and featuring Homage to Square and called "GLOW.". It was designed to increase awareness of education.
SOURCES OF IMAGES:
1. ART IS AN INTELLECTUAL AND INTUITIVE ORDER.
Clear thought is compatible with intuition. We must think and see with clarity.
2. COLOR CONTINUALLY DECEIVES US.
“In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is ---as it physically is. This facts makes COLOR THE MOST RELATIVE MEDIUM IN ART.” If you say the word RED, how many reds exist?
3. “COLOR IS RELATIVE TO THAT WHICH SURROUNDS IT.” 4. In other words, colors change depending upon the environment in which it is found.
4. “WHAT COUNTS HERE - first and last - is not the so-called knowledge of so-called facts (about color), but VISION ---SEEING...and it is coupled with fantasy, with imagination. This way of searching will lead from a visual realization of the interaction between color and color to an awareness of the interdependence of color with form and placement; with quality.” 5.
PURPOSES OF THE ALBERT COLOR COURSE:
1. Develop through experiences of trial and error, a RICH EYE for reading color. 6. (IOC II Color reading)
2. Develop observation of color, see color, and articulate color by creating studies. 7.
3. Enrich your ability to analyze and think critically and logically.
4. Demonstrate your creative abilities to use two dimensional positive and negative space well.
5. Give you an excellence experience and background in color manipulation which can be applied to painting, fine arts, design and computer program applications such as Photoshop which contains the Pantone color ink system used in designing and printing industries.
WHY USE COLOR AID PAPER?
1. It is available in many tints, tones, and shades.
2. It avoids messy, time consuming and discouraging failures associated with paint mixing. Some paint may be used for the color course, however.
3. It permits using the same color without changes of hue, difficult to achieve with paint.
4. The transparency or texture of paint, its application, and poor or insensitive color handling does not interfere with the studies.
5. We constantly compare colors that are displayed before us, a training which a paint palette cannot provide, 9.
6. Color Aid paper is a simplified parallel to the Pantone color system used on computer applications and through the design and publishing industries.
WHY DO THE ALBERS COLOR COURSE?
In all likelihood, this might be the only color theory course you will have. Although the effects are not always immediate, it is invaluable lifetime asset in how you see, perceive and use color.
IOC GO TO: COLOR THEORY BACKGROUND REVIEW
"COLOR IS RELATIVE TO THAT WHICH SURROUNDS IT" STUDIES
ACRYLIC PAINT AND COLOR MIXING STUDIES
MIDDLE COLOR & SIMPLE TRANSPARENCY STUDIES
INTENSITY, VALUE, & OPTICAL MIXTURE STUDIES
ADVANCED MIDDLE COLOR & TRANSPARENCY STUDIES
ADVANCED MIDDLE COLOR STUDY
THE MASTERS STUDY
IHA STUDIES INDEX & CHECKLIST
COMPLETE COLOR STUDIES CHECKLIST
* SOURCE OF ALBERS LOGO THROUGHOUT WEBSITE IS: http://www.laurentianum.waf-online.de/ldalbe03.gif
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