Luis Barragán described Albers’s Homage to the Square paintings as “a lifelong process from which many people,
now so bound to improvisation, would learn the steadiness of a profound insight.”
Albers and Barragan loved seeing, revered craftsmanship, and took immense pleasure in their task
of allowing the eyes and soul to feast in idyllic conditions.
“It is essential to an architect to know how to see … in such a way that the vision is not overpowered
by rational analysis” Barragán said. The mechanics of vision might be firmly based in physics
but true seeing transcended reason and led to an awareness of what Albers described
as “the discrepancy between physical fact and psychic effect”—the unpredictable point, beyond words,
where all the elements coalesce in a building or in a painting which mysteriously and magically attains sublimity.
As in Barragan’s architecture, in Albers’s paintings rigorous technique and firm guidelines yield extraordinary poetry.
The inert materials take on vibrant life. Josef Albers concluded of his many hopes for his Homages:
“How far this has been successful is for others to decide.”
The presentation of a group of them at the Casa Barragan gives a fighting chance for all the possibilities.