Miss Hall’s is fortunate to own a first edition of Josef Albers’s 1963 book Interaction of Color.
In the landmark publication, Albers lays out his theories, including how color can be influenced by surrounding colors, thus affecting the way it is perceived by the eye. Only 2,000 copies of the limited edition silkscreen, which included 150 color plates, were printed at its initial publication. Longtime MHS Art Department Chair Elizabeth Gatchell Klein acquired the MHS copy.
In a recent Independent Art project, Kitty Sheridan ’18 shared Albers’s groundbreaking publication with the MHS community. With assistance from classmates in Independent Art, Kitty’s project interactively presented Albers’s work, with students guiding visitors through about two-dozen of the exercises Albers features in Interaction of Color to illustrate his theory.
Albers (1888-1976), a German-born artist and teacher at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and Yale University, had a noted influence on modern art education. His wife, Anni Albers (1899 – 1994), was a German-born textile artist, designer, and writer whose work was also highly influential.
Josef Albers’s work—and his quote, “Color is the most relative medium in art” —caught Kitty’s eye while she researched art and technology as part of Ellie Spangler’s Independent Art class. Kitty read Interaction of Color and worked her way through Albers’s exercises. In doing so, she was struck by his interpretations of color values, tones, hues, and shades, and how they are all relative as well.
“I was also intrigued by the way he presents shapes, the shapes he chose, and the colors he chose, because they are very dramatic,” explained Kitty, who began working on “Perceptions of Color” in December. “I found it really inspiring to see how much he planned his work and how much thought went into it.”
An artist herself, Kitty’s Albers-inspired photos “An Exploration in Color,” was selected earlier this year for the 32nd Annual Berkshire County High School Art Show at the Norman Rockwell Museum. (Her photo, “Glass Water” was selected for the 2016 show.) “I’ve also always been interested in color,” Kitty added. “With this project, I wanted to explore this idea of the importance of color, that it’s not something that’s just thrown on the canvas.”