Josef Albers, Homage to the Square (It Seems), 1963, oil on panel, 39 7/8 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968. © 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
This year the Palmer Museum of Art joins organizations worldwide marking the centenary of the Bauhaus, the influential school founded in Weimar, Germany, that unified fine arts, design, and architecture in its curriculum. Artist Josef Albers, a student and then instructor at the Bauhaus, fled Nazi Germany for the United States after the school was forced to close in 1933. Albers took a post as head of Black Mountain College, a new art school in North Carolina, and became a formative educator for many artists. Robert Rauschenberg attended the school in 1948–49 and considered Albers “the most important teacher” he ever had. This exhibition pairs Albers’s painting Homage to the Square (It Seems), from 1963, and Rauschenberg’s print Booster, from 1967, to explore this relationship, the dissemination of Bauhaus ideas, and its legacy in America.
The dialogue between the two works is presented in conjunction with the interdisciplinary symposium Bauhaus Transfers, organized by the Department of Architecture and the Department of German Studies at Penn State on September 19–21. An international roster of more than a dozen scholars—hailing from Austria, China, England, Germany, Mexico, Poland, as well as the United States—will examine the lasting importance of the histories, theories, and practices of the Bauhaus in a global context.
The centenary commemoration continues in the Hull Gallery with a display of works by Bauhaus faculty and students, including Anni Albers, Max Bill, and Wassily Kandinsky, in the print study drawers.
This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative.