Color and the Square - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Studies of the properties of color come in all shapes, but square forms stand out in western art as one of the preferred choices to explore the vibrations and the advancing or receding spaces generated by color contrasts.


Richard Anuszkiewicz, Grand Treasure (1968), Private Collection

The artist most closely associated with the square is perhaps Josef Albers, who painted over a thousand variations for a series he called Homage to the Square, starting in 1949 and only ending with his death in 1976.

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square (1970s)

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square (1970s)

However, some of the most stunning works with squares come from two of Albers’s students, who took up his chromatic explorations and furthered them with a special focus on the dynamics of color contrasts. One is Richard Anuszkiewicz:

Richard Anuszkiewicz, Grand Spectra (1968), The Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Albany

Richard Anuszkiewicz, Inverse Yellow (1970), Private Collection

Richard Anuszkiewicz, Monument Valley (1970), Private Collection

Richard Anuszkiewicz, Soft Yellow (1972), Private Collection

The other is Julian Stanczak:

Julian Stanczak, Shared Center (1983-99)

Julian Stanczak, Opposing in Dark (1984)

Julian Stanczak, Constellation in Red (2002-2003)

Julian Stanczak, Constellation in Green (2004-2005)

For these explorations of the wonders of visual perception, all of them are ultimately indebted to Paul Klee (1879-1940), who pioneered color studies in squares in the 1920s, at the time when color first broke free from the constraints of the figurative in western art.