myron stout on josef albers...
"... i suppose albers came to his purism out of de stijl and kandinsky, and with the strong touch of 19th century scientific idealism which brought such a strong pragmatic note to the bauhaus - together, of course, with the german mystical-metaphysical idealism.
the earlier purists were so much more the poets and the mystics in their work than any now practicing and these are the very qualities which gave their work more validity (together, of course, with greater artistry) than that of the ones now practicing. i include albers, of course, with the earlier ones, though i can not feel him the artist that mondrian was, of course. he certainly does have the transcendental ideal, though, and he not only does not lose it with increasing age, but seems to strengthen and clarify it. his work always gives me pause, because the scientifically "measured" quality always stops me (at least momentarily - and sometimes blocks me) on the way "through" his work to what he has to say or present. on the other hand i always come again and again to a great admiration for the consistent and truly integrally held vision which impels him and is, on the whole, revealed in his work. that he can hold it is very remarkable, for it's almost as though he were a man out of his time - he should have lived a generation earlier when the materialism and lack of faith and conviction of today would not have been there to beat on him and his audience. the solitariness of his powerful idealism would have been easier to bear, so to speak, had he come to full flower in 1900 or 1910 instead of now. i think possibly he has not been able to reconcile his ideals with the world he finds himself in - his work is not embracingly "telling" enough. but he still holds to the basic - to the fundamental of what he knows will give expression to what he means."
april 28, 1960
top: josef albers hommage to the square
bottom: myron stout, 1950