JOSEF ALBERS: HIS PAINTINGS, THEIR MATERIALS, TECHNIQUE, AND TREATMENT
Patricia Sherwin Garland
As we have seen, Albers' paintings are supremely logical in their design. The overall architectural quality which they possess extends beyond the selection of the wood fibre-board panels to the careful priming, the orientation of the design, the laying down of the grid system, the application of the paint film, the meticulous care in choosing proper framing and even the proper strainer on the reverse. Albers truly paid attention to every detail: witness his listing all his materials on the back of the panels and his formulae for the design often appearing around the border of the front, in pencil. To achieve his desired effect, he even painted all his pictures under the same artificial lights: two fluorescent fixtures, one containing warm/warm, cool/cool bulbs and one containing warm/cool, warm/cool bulbs.
In conclusion, Albers paintings are not entirely unique in the conservation problems they sometimes pose. What is special, however, is that their own rare purity, and the incredible deliberation with which they were executed, can, ironically, cause special difficulties in treatment, posing many questions, both physically and from a philosophical point of view.