Bellinzona Musei brings a great collection of unpublished paintings, prints and sketches by the late German artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) to Switzerland. At the Museo Villa dei Cedri, visitors can look forward to the stunning pieces, but they can also explore the artist’s works on a tactile path set in Castelgrande, one of Bellinzona’s three beautiful castles.

TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

Established in 1985, Museo Villa dei Cedri is a place of great beauty throughout. The exteriors of the Palladian-style villa alone invite guests to ponder and take it all in. Inside, visitors can look forward to temporary exhibitions set in the stunning ancient rooms of the villa.

The permanent collection is constituted by Ticinese, Swiss and Lombard art, from the second half of the 19th century to the present day, and parts of it are shown during special exhibitions. The collection examines the production during the turn of the 19th century, which documents the major changes in art and the transition between realism and symbolism, but also looks at the themes of the 20th century and their regional processing. Finally, it focuses on informal art in its dual matrix: lyrical-abstract or strong expressive value.

Museo Villa dei Cedri: The genesis of an icon of the 20th century, Discover Germany magazine

Josef Albers, Two Colour studies for ‘Homage to the Square’, n.d. Oil and pencil on cardboard with varnish. 11 1/4 x 4 7/8 in. The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 1976-2-38. Copyright: 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ProLitteris, Zurich Photo: Tim Nighswander / Imagine4Art

“Particular attention is given to works on paper such as watercolour, drawing and many forms of paintings on paper, and to graphic works, including the different printing techniques,” says director Carole Haensler “This particular dimension of the artistic production holds a significant place not only in its collection but also in its exhibition programme since its inception.”

From 28 September 2019 to 02 February 2020, Museo Villa dei Cedri hosts a special exhibition of works by German artist and colour theorist Josef Albers in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut.

Anatomy of Homage to the Square showcases a mainly unpublished sequence of oil paintings, prints and sketches and gives a comprehensive insight into how Albers developed his craft over more than a quarter of a century.

The artist analyses the interactions of colour in strictly square backgrounds of different sizes and shades, superimposed over one another. Adopting an almost ritualistic approach, he explores in this way the modulations of light and colour in more than 2,000 works, revealing them in motifs, shapes and processes that are infinite and, at the same time, invariable. The square delimits the field of unlimited creative liberty.

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Museo Villa dei Cedri: The genesis of an icon of the 20th century, Discover Germany magazine

Josef Albers, Sanctuary, 1942, Zinc plate lithograph, Sheet: 19 x 24 in. The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 1976-4-104. Copyright: 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo: Tim Nighswander / Imagine4Art

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