Art: Simple Form, Simple Color

At 23, Richard Anuszkiewicz was a colorless young man—technically speaking, that is. "I was painting still lifes that were getting greyer and greyer," he recalls, still amazed at the helplessness he felt. The tonic he needed was the famous course given at Yale by Josef Albers, who has spent decades demonstrating what marvels colors can perform when left entirely on their own. As can be seen in seven Anuszkiewicz' paintings on display in Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art (including those on the opposite page), the tonic worked.

Albers is best known for his squares within squares, which leave his colors entirely independent...

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