WSJ. Magazine has an extensive look at all that is happening around the reputations of Josef and Anni Albers. Much of the activity traces back to the couple’s foundation.
What artists’ foundations do is often a subject of mystery and, even, confusion. But this simple example of how the foundation, cultural institutions and the market can collaborate, is an instructive example:
The fruits of the foundation’s labors can be seen clearly in the two Guggenheim shows. Albers in Mexico radically repositions Josef with many works predating his Homage series, some of which will also appear. The exhibition includes his photographs and photo collages of Zapotec, Aztec and Mixtec pyramids and ruins; selections from his so-called Variant/ Adobe paintings—hotly colored squares nested inside horizontal rectangles—and his Tenayuca series, which are geometric compositions that seem to balance flatness with three-dimensional space.
Among them is Tenayuca I, lost since it was purchased in 1947 and known only from a small black-and-white photograph. When the foundation began working with Zwirner, a relative of the original owner suddenly contacted the gallery about the work. “I got one look at it and said, ‘We will buy it,’ ” Fox Weber says. “It’s an extraordinary painting, in mint condition.
And it’s beautiful.” For Lauren Hinkson, the Guggenheim curator organizing the New York show, the painting was “a revelation,” she says. “I’ve seen all the Tenayucas, and when I saw it hanging at the foundation, I almost got down on my knees to pray.”