Alfred Jensen – The American Friends
Dimensions: 30.13 x 20″ finished size
Medium: oil, ink and graphite on paperboard
Alfred Jensen (1903-1981) The American Friends signed, titled and incised with the date ‘The American Friends Alfred Jensen Feb 18 1970’ (lower edge) oil, ink and graphite on paperboard 30.13 x 20″ (76.5 x 50.8 cm). Executed in 1970. Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1981.
After moving to the United States in 1934, encouraged by his patron Saidie Alder May, Jensen began to pursue his interest in color theory and design. His intricately organized diagrams reflect his distinctive conceptual approach, begun in the late 1950s when he started to refine his wide-ranging studies of systems and philosophies—from theories of color and light (based on that the system of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), mathematics, and the Mayan calendar, to scientific formulations—into multicolored checkerboards. He used mathematical systems to construct two-dimensional grid paintings and demonstrate color theories, but the work itself is metaphorical, referencing pre-Colombian and Asian cultures, textiles, and divination.