Bottrop: Josef Albers Museum

We had heard about this museum for years, and looked forward to seeing an exhibtion of both paintings and design, but alas, on the day of our visit the majority of the musume space was taken up with other works. Still, it was an interesting experience. Here is a bit of background:

The Quadrat museum centre opened in 1976 with exhibition space for contemporary art and a museum for pre­- and local history. In 1983, the Josef Albers Museum was added to the centre as a stand-alone building. Today, the museum houses the most comprehensive public collection of work by this artist born in Bottrop. It includes paintings, prints, glass objects and paintings on paper from all of Josef Albers’ work periods. A collection of contemporary sculptures can be found in the city gardens surrounding the building complex. These integrate harmoniously with the landscape and are visually connected to the museum from various angles. Nature and architecture have been used to create a highly stimulating ensemble.

Josef Albers counts as one of the central art figures in the second half of the 20th century. As a result of his unique artistic perspective, Albers developed important principles in the design process during his teaching activities at Bauhaus, as well at the Black Mountain College following his emigration to the USA and later at Yale University. His central theoretical work, Interaction of Color (1963), arose from his work with students and young artists. In this work, he tested and contemplated the perception and understanding of colour in the context of art. His most famous series of pictures, Homage to the Square – a wide-ranging study of the power of colour, already consisted of several hundred paintings at this time. 

The exhibition program’s main focus is Alber’s influence on American art in the second half of the 20th century. The series of Albers’ exhibitions so far have been contextually dedicated to Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd and Michael Venezia.

The museum’s collection makes Albers’ artistic development in its entirety easy to understand. It contains prints from the time the artist spent in Westphalia prior to 1920. It continues with glass works from his Bauhaus period. Furthermore, the collection introduces us to Albers’ relationship with pre-Columbian Mexican art. A main focus is his most important work, Homage to the Square, produced from 1950 onwards.