Skip to Content ☰ Open Filter >>

White Line Square IV

Showing 1 of 1

White Line Square IV

Josef Albers, American (born Germany), (March 19, 1888–March 25, 1976)

Creation date: 1966
Creation place: United States

Other Information

Type: Lithograph
Medium and Support: Lithograph
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James E. Lasry
Accession Number: 1991.56
State/Province: California
Dimensions: 15 3/4 in. x 15 3/4 in. (40.01 cm x 40.01 cm)


DeVorzon Gallery, Los Angeles, California ( - )

Mr. and Mrs. James E. Lasry, La Jolla, California ( - August 28, 1991)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 28, 1991 - )

Label Copy

December 2004
Human Presence: Works from the Museum's Collection
Josef Albers
Josef Albers was an artist, theorist, and educator deeply engaged with investigations into the spatial possibilities of color and geometric structures. He arrived in the United States in 1933, having spent the previous ten years teaching at the Bauhaus in Germany. He continued teaching after he emigrated, first at the highly experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and later at Yale University. After moving to the United States, Albers concentrated on several series of works that systematically explored the ambiguous relationships between the physical object and its psychological effects. The most well known of these is Homage to the Square (1950-1976). In this series, he repeats, in many permutations, the same organizational structure of a square within a square within a square, using the asymmetry of positioning the squares closer to the bottom of the frame to give them the illusion of expanding upwards, as well as to give an effect of depth. These stable shapes provide a framework for his theory on color, what he called the “interaction of color.” The restriction of superimposed squares of color is carefully calculated so that the color of each square appears to alter its size, hue, and spatial character in relation to the other squares. Albers' color areas are placed in deliberate combinations to achieve a unique sense of balance and harmony that expresses a particular feeling or state of consciousness. As the artist stated, “When you really understand that each color is changed by a changed environment, you eventually find that you have learned about life as well as about color.”
Albers' series of engravings, Interlinear (1963), are illusionist geometric puzzles that cannot exist in three dimensions and represent the artist's search for forms that unsettle confidence in the geometric order. Though the viewer searches for structural resolution, the eye is instead forced into a state of oscillation between the perception of surfaces and the perception of volumes. Josef Albers taught people that using a rationalist approach to the complexity of the optic sense in relationship with the open ended language of color together gives shape to a spiritual experience.
Last Updated: 4/4/2005


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

High Societies: San Diego Museum of Art , 5/26/2001 - 8/12/2001


Inscription, Lower left:

Submit a question or comment about this object

Showing 1 of 1

Your current search criteria is: Object is "White Line Square IV".