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Print - To Monte Alban
  • To Monte Alban
    Albers, Josef, born 1888 - died 1976
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To Monte Alban

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    USA (made)

  • Date:

    1942 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Albers, Josef, born 1888 - died 1976 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Josef Albers Foundation

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case MP, shelf 250

Josef Albers became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century avant-garde.
He is best known for his later works, but his systematic presentation of spatial ambivalence and paradox, made through endless variations on geometric themes and juxtapositions of colour, went through many articulations before he arrived at his characteristic, hard-edged rectangles within rectangles of flat colour.

Throughout the 1940s, while teaching. at Black Mountain College in California, he made frequent trips to Mexico. He was inspired by the architecture and artefacts seen there and absorbed their abstract, formal qualities into his prints made during the 1940s. After experimenting with modulated line, in a series of drypoints, Albers went on to make a series of lithographs collectively titled 'Graphic Tectonic' with very precise linear structures but, which through repeated and closely drawn parallel lines, and the use of right-angles, create powerfully ambiguous visual illusions of space and volume.

Monte Alban, an ancient hill-top city in the Oaxaca region of Mexico, is now an archeological site with a maze of underground passage ways, rooms, drainage and water storage systems

Physical description

Geometric pattern made up of six closely spaced, parallel lines and right angles, creating an illusion of two corridors, side by side, in steep perspective, leading away from or toward the viewer. The whole contained within a regular rectangle.

Place of Origin

USA (made)


1942 (made)


Albers, Josef, born 1888 - died 1976 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Albers 42 To Monte Alban
signed and dated in pencil; inscribed with title and edition number.


Height: 32.9 cm printed surface, Width: 31.4 cm printed surface, Height: 60.5 cm sheet, Width: 48.8 cm sheet

Descriptive line

Josef Albers: lithograph: To Monte Alban. From the group of 8 plates 'Graphic Tectonic. 1942

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

François Bucher (with captions by Albers); Despite Straight Lines. New Haven and London, 1961. illus. pp19-31
Eugen Gomringer: Josef Albers. New York 1968. p.75-6. illus. pp 84-90
Werner Spies: Josef Albers. Stuttgart, 1971. p.36. illus. pp30-32
Getulio Alviani: Josef Albers. Milan, 1988. illus. plates 70-77

Production Note

One of a group of eight plates collectively titled 'Graphic Tectonic' . The museum has five of the eight.


Colour printing ink; Card

Subjects depicted

Ambiguity, spatial




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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