Repeat and Reverse, 1963
Josef Albers (1888-1976; M.A.H. 1950, D.F.A. 1962)
Location: Art & Architecture Building, on the York Street facade

As a student and instructor at the progressive Bauhaus school in Germany in the 1920s, Josef Albers began exploring the relationship between perception and geometry. When the school was closed by the Nazis in 1933, he moved to the United States and eventually settled with his wife and fellow artist, Anni, in Connecticut, teaching art at Yale from 1950 to 1960. In Repeat and Reverse, Albers used stainless steel bars to reproduce a line drawing of an optical illusion. Although the corners of this flat sculpture appear to project and recede, the suggested volumes contradict one another, trapping the eye in an endless circuit along the shiny lines. Like his famous series of paintings Homage to the Square, this work demonstrates the complex perceptual effects that can stem from relatively simple visual forms. It was one of several sculptures created specifically for the exterior of Yale’s then new Art & Architecture Building at the invitation of architect Paul Rudolph. Gift of the artist, made possible by a grant from the Graham Foundation, Chicago, 1963