ALFRED JENSEN was an American painter and printmaker, born in Guatemala December 11, 1903. Of Polish, German and Danish heritage, he started school in Denmark and completed high school in San Diego, CA, after working as a seaman and as a farmer in Guatemala. He eventually decided to train as a painter, studying at the San Diego Fine Arts School in 1925 and with Hans Hofmann in Munich in 1926–7. He settled permanently in the USA only in 1934. The patronage of Saidie Alder May (d 1951), a wealthy woman whom he met in 1927 as a fellow student of Hofmann, made it possible for him to dedicate himself to the study of colour theory (especially that of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), Mayan and Inca cultures, science, mathematics and philosophy. Much of this knowledge was later transposed into complex, diagrammatic pictures such as Family Portrait (1958) and The Great Mystery II (1960; both Buffalo, NY, Albright–Knox A.G.), which are characterized by grid structures of tiny squares in bright opaque colours. Although there is sometimes a superficial resemblance between works by Jensen and the use of particular motifs by other artists—for example the colour circles of Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay or the numbers of Jasper Johns—his purpose in using such forms and symbols was highly personal, bordering on the metaphysical. The complexity of the relationships of colour was paralleled by mathematical sequences which reflected Jensen’s interest in magical numerical systems. In works of the 1970s, such as Doric Order (1972; Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie), he returned to the use of repeated signs, letters and especially numbers, which he had first used around 1960. Jensen died in Livingston, New Jersey on April 4, 1981.


One-Artist Exhibitions


John Heller Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen: Experiments in Color, March 17-29.

Tanager Gallery, New York. Al Jensen: Paintings, October 21-November 10.

Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York. Recent Oils by Alfred Jensen, November 11-30.

Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. First Exhibition of Murals, April 22-May 18.

Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen and the Image of the Prism, November 24-December 12.

Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. Magic Square, January 17-February 11.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Alfred Jensen, August 30-October 8.

Farleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey.

Graham Gallery, New York. Duality Triumphant, March 5-30.

Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern. Alfred Jensen, October-November.

Graham Gallery, New York. Divine Analogy and Time Reckoning, November 5-December 7

Kunsthalle, Basel. Alfred Jensen (with Franz Kline), January 31-March 1.

Rolf Nelson Gallery, Los Angeles. Alfred Jensen, February 10-March 7.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Alfred Jensen, May 15-July 5.

Graham Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen, March 30-April 24.

Rolf Nelson Gallery, Los Angeles. A Pythagorean Notebook, October 25-November 20.

Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zurich. Alfred Jensen, March 31-April 30.

Royal Marks Gallery, New York. Works of Graphic/Alfred Jensen, April 19-May 4.

Cordier & Ekstrom, Inc., New York. The Acroatic Rectangle, February 6-March 2.

Royal Marks Gallery, New York.

Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. Treasures from Inventory III, January 16-31.

Cordier & Ekstrom, Inc., New York. Alfred Jensen, February 13-March 16.

J. L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit, Michigan. Alfred Jensen: The Acroatic Rectangle, May 14-June 8.

Cordier & Ekstrom, Inc., New York. The Aperspective Structure of a Square, March 11 -April 4.

The Pace Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen, Paintings 1964-1972, May 6-June 7.

Galerie Kornfeld, Zurich.

Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover. Alfred Jensen, January 12-February 11 (circulated to: Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark; Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden; Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf; Kunsthalle, Bern).

The Pace Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen: Recent Paintings, October 27-November 24.

Kunsthalle, Basel. Alfred Jensen, June 19-August 10.

Kornfeld & Klipstein Basel. Alfred Jensen, June 19-August 10.

The Pace Gallery, New York. Alfred Jensen: Selected Works 1961-1974, January 10-February 7.

Kornfeld & Klipstein, Basel. Alfred Jensen (with Sam Francis), October 1-December 18.

Sao Paulo, Brazil. XIV International Bienal of Sao Paulo. Alfred Jensen: Paintings and Diagrams From the Years 1957-1977, October 1-November 30. Traveled in 1978 to Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, New Museum, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California and Department of Fine Arts Gallery, University of Colorado Museum, Boulder, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Changes and Communication, mural, National Libarary of Medicine, National Institues of Health, Lister Hill Center, Bethesda, Maryland

The Great Pyramid and Other Paintings of 1979 and 1980, Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

The Late Works, Pace, New York

Alfred Jensen: Paintings and Works on Paper, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Dan Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles

Pace Gallery, New York

Waddington Galleries, London

Susan Hilberry Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan

Blancpain Stepczinski, Geneva

Linda Cathcart Gallery, Santa Monica

Paintings, Pace Gallery, New York

Bilder und Arbeiten auf Paper von 1952 bis 1978, Galerie Daniel Blau, Munich

The Pythagorean Work, Galerie Rigassi, Bern

The New Jersey Years, 1972-1981, The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Paintings, Galerie Daniel Blau, Munich

Max Protetch Gallery, New York

Paintings and Drawings, a Survey, PaceWildenstein, New York

The Relationship between Structure and Function, Buchman Galerie, Köln

Alfred Jensen and Tony Smith: Personal Geometry, PaceWildenstein, New York

Selected Paintings, Basilico Fine Arts, New York

Malca Fine Arts, New York

Crossing the Equator, PaceWildenstein, Los Angeles

Dia Center for the Arts, 548 West 22nd Street, New York, Alfred Jensen: Concordance, September 20, 2001-June 16, 2002

PaceWildenstein, 534 West 25th Street, New York, Alfred Jensen, September 15-October 13

Max Protetch Gallery, 511 West 22nd Street New York, Alfred Jensen, November 13-December 22, 2001

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California, Alfred Jensen: Concordance, January 25-April 19

Alfred Jensen, Nielsen Gallery, Boston

Alfred Jensen: Paintings from the 1970s, The Texas Gallery, Houston

Alfred Jensen: The Number Paintings, PaceWildenstein, New York, September 29-October 28

Alfred Jensen, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Alfred Jensen: Prints and Lithographs, Pace Prints, NY

Alfred Jensen/Sol LeWitt: Systems and Transformation, Pace Gallery, NY
Selected Group Exhibitions

Stable Gallery, New York. Third Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture.

Stable Gallery, New York. Fourth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture.

Stable Gallery, New York. Fifth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture.

Tanager Gallery, New York. Painters /Sculptors on 10th Street.

Neue Amerikanische Malerie, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland

The City Art Museum of St. Louis. Collectors Choice.

Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco. Jensen and Schwitters.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. The Image Lost and Found.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Segunda Bienal Interamericana de Mexico, 1960.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 100 Paintings from the G. David Thompson Collection.

The Art Institute of Chicago. 65th American Exhibition: Some Directions in Contemporary Painting and Sculpture.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. New Accessions U.S.A., 1962.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Geometric Abstraction in America.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The 28th Biennial Exhibition 1963.

Graham Gallery, New York. Banners.

National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Paintings From The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

San Francisco Museum of Art. Recent Trends.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Annual Exhibition 1963: Contemporary American Painting.

American Federation of Arts Gallery, New York. A Decade of New Talent (circulated under the auspices of The American Federation of Arts).

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Post Painterly Abstraction (circulated to Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Art Gallery of Toronto).

Museum Fridericianum, Kassel. documenta III: Internationale Ausstellung.

Venice. XXXII Esposizione Biennale Intemazionale d'Arte Venezia: Selections from the Collection of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Kane Memorial Exhibition.

Metropolitan Art Gallery, Tokyo. The 8th International Art Exhibition of Japan (circulated throughout Japan under the auspices of The American Federation of Arts).

San Francisco Museum of Art. Colorists 1950-1965.

San Francisco Museum of Art. Highlights of 1964-65.

Graham Gallery, New York. The Rainbow Room.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Plus by Minus: Today's Half Century.

Das Modern Art Museum, Munich. Neue Kunst U.S.A. Barock-Minima.

Kunstmuseum, Basel. Sammlung Marguerite Arp - Hagenbach.

Museum Fridericianum, Kassel. 4. documenta: Internationale Ausstellung.

Latayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.


Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 109 obras de Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Tamarind: Homage to Lithography (circulated under the auspices of the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art).

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Highlights of the 1969-70 Art Season.

Indianapolis Museum of Art. Painting and Sculpture Today.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. American Painting 1970.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The Structure of Color.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Recent American Painting and Sculpture in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The Gallery of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York. Exhibition of Works by Contemporary Artists Who Are Not Members the Institute.

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Grids Grids Grids Grids Grids Grids Grids Grids.

Museum Fridericianum, Kassel. documenta 5: Internationale Ausstellung.

University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park. The Private Collection of Martha Jackson (circulated to The Finch College Museum of Art, New York and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo).

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1973 Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. The Martha Jackson Collection at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Museo de Arte Modemo, Mexico City. Color (in collaboration with the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, New York).

University Art Gallery, State University of New York at Albany. Selections from the Martha Jackson Gallery Collection.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Acquisition Priorities: Aspects of Postwar Painting in America.

Philadelphia College of Art. Time.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Collectors, Collecting, Collection: American Abstract Art Since 1945.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1977 Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art.

I Knew It to Be So, Alfred Jensen, Forrest Bess and Myron Stout, New York Studio School

The Spiritual in Art, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Bilderstreit: Die Internationale Kunst von 1960 bis heut, Museum Ludwig, Köln

Magie der Zahl, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart

Defining Structures, LaSalle Partners, Charlotte, NC

Patterns: Between Object and Arabesque, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark

Noncomposition: Fifteen case studies, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.

Structures of Difference, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.

Logical Conclusions: 40 years of Rule-based Art, PaceWildenstein, New York
2006 Alfred Jensen and Mel Bochner: Hommage to Pythagoras, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, October 21-November 30
2007 Cosmologies, James Cohan Gallery, New York, January 11-February 10

Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Wonders of Numbers, Art about Mathematics, Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York

Back to the Future, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago

Exile on Main Street, Bonnefante Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Color Fields, Deutsche+Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany

50 Years at Pace, Pace Gallery, New York

Katherine Bernhardt, Alfred Jensen, Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo and Judith Scott, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, July-August

Proofs and Refutations, David Zwirner Gallery, New York