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Josef Albers: Midnight and Noon


Using minimal means—paint straight from the tube, applied meticulously with a palette knife—and a focused selection of colors, Josef Albers’s sustained, serial investigation into rhythm, mood, and spatial movement is explored in this lavishly produced catalogue that looks solely at his respective grey and yellow paintings, exploring two distinct color palettes pervasive to his oeuvre. 

Highlighting the rich diversity of effects Albers drew from a narrow range of colors, this publication centers around the groundbreaking Homage to the Square (A) (1950), the inaugural painting in the series that would occupy the artist until his death in 1976. The pairing of two palettes—black, white, and grey and an array of yellows—stems in part from Albers’s 1964 series of lithographs, Midnight and Noon, which brought together these two opposing color sets in a single portfolio. Together they address the limitless possibilities the artist found in color and form in relation to light. The impossible simultaneity of “midnight” and “noon” moreover speaks to Albers’s transcending of what he called “factual facts” in favor of the play of perception and illusion possible in art.

Opening with an introduction by Nicholas Fox Weber, executive director of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, that contextualizes these works and their color palettes, this volume also includes Albers’s own writing on Homage to the Square. Additionally, Elaine de Kooning’s historic text and Colm Tóibín’s recent writing explore this body of work from different perspectives and time periods. Published on the occasion of exhibitions at David Zwirner’s New York and London galleries in 2016 and 2017, this beautifully illustrated publication looks at one of the most influential abstract painters of the twentieth century.

“In Josef Albers: Midnight and Noon, David Zwirner has put together a comprehensive book that looks both generally and specifically at Albers’ seminal Homage to the Square series.”

– Michael Valinsky, Hyperallergic

“Proof that it's hip to be square: long overlooked, Josef Albers is at last recognised as a 'post-war master'”

– Colin Gleadell, The Telegraph

“A master telling us about the limitless expressive potential of colour and light.”

– Staff, Inigo Art

Josef and Anni Albers are “considered leading lights of 20th-century modernism.”

– Carol Kino, Wall Street Journal

Albers’s Homage to the Square paintings are “severely concentric yet pulsating arrangements of color, light and space he made from 1950 until his death, presaging MInimalism by more than a decade.”

– Roberta Smith, The New York Times

“Bauhaus Artist couple Josef and Anni Albers deserve their current run of accolades.”

– Emma Crichton-Miller, Financial Times

“David Zwirner Gallery spotlights his groundbreaking studies in color and seriality, Homage to the Square.”

– Kat Herriman, Cultured