PRINT April 2010


Josef Albers's Interaction of Color

Josef Albers, Interaction of Color: New Complete Edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009). 269 pages, 2 vols.

THE LAVISH NEW EDITION of Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color, first published in 1963, arrives in two cloth-covered volumes of blue and green (or, some might say, green and yellow). They contain a poetic, lilting text that is studded with aphorisms and plates of mostly abstract images—color experiments accompanied by instructions on how to understand the effects that they demonstrate. Together, the tomes meticulously reconstruct the core elements of Albers’s famous color course, which he developed over a forty-year period in collaboration with his students at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and finally Yale University. Surprisingly, though, the book is not really a pedagogical treatise on the modernist use of color. Instead, it is an argument against color systems of

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