The Timeless Interaction of Color

Josef Albers, the German-born artist and educator who taught at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and Yale University created Interaction of Color as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students.

For those who have experience with this book (by teaching from or learning from it) knows it is a timeless and mesmerizing resource for anyone interested in color theory and human perception. 


Originally published by Yale University Press in 1963 as a limited silkscreen edition with 150 color plates, Interaction of Color first appeared in paperback in 1971, featuring ten color studies chosen by Albers, and has remained in print ever since.

With over a quarter of a million copies sold in its various editions since 1963, Interaction of Color has become a watershed on complex color theory principles and is as pioneering today as when Albers first created it.


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Fifty years after Interaction of Colors’s initial publication, this new edition presents an expanded selection of close to sixty color studies alongside Albers’s original text, demonstrating such principles as color relativity, intensity, and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusion of transparency and reversed grounds.

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To further celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary Yale University Press also released  a new way to engage with Albers’s lessons by releasing the “Interaction of Color” App for the iPad.


The ($9.99) app combines the book’s text and color studies, video commentary, interviews and over 60 new interactive plates that enables users to try their own color experiments with color. 

While we strongly believe there is something essential to holding publications in your hand, feeling the stock and tooth of paper and seeing colors in changing light, this app is an exciting way for Alber’s teachings to reach new audiences in studios and classrooms and that we are unquestionably in favor for that. 

Purchase Interaction of Color by Josef Albers here
Visit the Yale Books website for more info on the Interaction of Color App.


Monday Morning Meditations

Happy Monday all! To start off the week I thought I would share a new gem in the & Pens Press library, Mazdaznan Health & Breath Culture, the First Six Exercises.


This soft bound, saddle stitched zine, explores the relationship between Mazdaznan, Johannes Itten and the Foundation Courses he taught at the Bauhaus.

If you are not familiar with Mazdaznan studies it was a religion founded by the  Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish in Chicago at the start of the twentieth century. A couple interesting facts that we learned about Dr. Ha’nish was that it is rumored that Edison named the first lightbulb Mazda in his honor and that Henry Ford attributed the dawn of the motor-age to Ha’nish’s influence. The Swiss artist and teacher Johannes Itten was also a devout Mazdaznan and its exercises were an essential part of his courses at the Bauhaus.




To give you a general overview Health & Breath Culture is a practical guide to performing the exercises taught by Itten at the Bauhaus.  Throughout the zine you are lead through six exercises in thought, posture and breathing to help improve different senses.

The six chapters concentrate on:

1. Sight and Concentration

2. Hearing and Intuition

3. Smell and Memory

4. Taste and Will Power

5. Touch and Nerve Energy

6. Feeling and Heart Culture

Accompanying the six instructions are these beautiful and sweet line drawings of current Foundation students demonstrating the exercises, illustrated by Ian Whittlesea. (Admittedly the drawings are what lead me to spending more time with the text.)

DSC_0208 DSC_0209Following the first section of the book is a selection of found texts and images on the belief and history of Mazdaznan, which is pretty interesting.


So, if you are struggling with the Monday blues today this publication is a great item to have on hand, or in your bag, when you have a quiet moment and need a release. (Our favorite exercise to try at the shop is Taste and Will Power.)

Available (even for skeptics) in the bookstore, here.


Mazdaznan Health & Breath Culture, The First Six Exercises

By Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish.

Illustrated by Ian Whittlesea with drawings of current Foundation students demonstrating the exercises, followed by a selection of found texts and images on the beliefs and history of Mazdaznan.