Artwork Description

Alfred Jensen – The Double Helix

Dimensions: 59.75 x 53.75″ framed / 59 x 53″ unframed
Year: 1980
Medium: oil on four joined canvases

Alfred Jensen (1903-1981) “The Double Helix” signed and dated ‘Alfred Jensen 1980.’ 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.