Info Images Caption
Info Images Caption
Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square, 1965
oil on masonite
24 x 24 in. (60.9 x 60.9 cm)
1976.1.586

2017 London + Düsseldorf

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White investigates where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film. Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas from the Renaissance to today by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, Josef Albers, and Gerhard Richter, Monochrome encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

Josef Albers
Untitled (Maya Temple, Chichen Itza, Mexico), ca. 1940
gelatin silver print
sheet: 5 1/8 x 6 15/16 in. (13 x 17.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

2017 New York

Josef Albers in Latin America brings together the artist's photographs and photo collages from the Guggenheim's collection and various lenders. These works, many of which have never been exhibited publicly, suggest a nuanced relationship between the forms and motifs of pre-Columbian monuments and the artist's iconic abstract canvases.

Albers's innovative approach to photography remains an underappreciated aspect of his career. On his first trip to Mexico, in 1935, Albers encountered the magnificent architecture of ancient Mesoamerica. He later remarked in a letter to Vasily Kandinsky, a former colleague at the Bauhaus, "Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art." With his wife, artist Anni Albers, Josef visited Mexico and other Latin American countries nearly a dozen times from 1935 to 1967. They saw numerous archeological sites and monuments, especially in Mexico and Peru. On each visit, Josef took hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines, and sanctuaries at these sites, often grouping multiple images printed at various scales onto eight by ten inch sheets.

Albers's experiences in Latin America offer an essential context for understanding his paintings and prints, particularly from his Homage to the Square and Variant/Adobe series, examples of which are featured in this show.

2018 Düsseldorf + London