Kenyon College



Josef Albers

Variant. 1970.
Courtesy of Collection of Neil K. Rector.


“Color deceives continuously” –Josef Albers

Josef Albers (1888-1976), a pioneer in the field of color theory, experimented with color and geometric abstractions throughout his career. Albers created numerous Variant paintings, on which this print is based. These were also referred to as the Adobe series and were produced from 1947 to the end of his life. The vibrant colors, adobe houses and Mesoamerican structures Albers encountered during numerous visits to Mexico had a profound impact on his oeuvre and inspired his series of Variant/ Adobe paintings. These works reference the simple façade of an adobe house outlining two abstract window openings. Utilizing this format, Albers created dozens of monochromatic paintings deliberately pairing and juxtaposing colors for dramatic effect. Employing unmixed oil paints, Albers created numerous studies investigating how one’s perception of a specific color shifts and bends according to its placement, size and juxtaposition. Alber’s wrote “I’m especially proud when [I can make] colors lose their identity and become unrecognizable.”

Lara del Piano ‘14