Alfred Jensen 1903–1981
Alfred Jensen was born in Guatemala in 1903. He studied painting at the San Diego Fine Arts School and under Hans Hoffman in Munich. He established permanent residence in the United States in 1934, where his patron Saidie Adler May encouraged him to pursue his interest in color theory and pattern. In 1945, Jensen read Goethe's Zür Farbenlehre, a study of color theory that would continually inspire and occupy Jensen for the next twenty years. In 1951, he settled in New York and had his first one man show at John Heller Gallery. Jensen’s work during this time features intricately organized diagrams incorporating his interest in color theory and mathematics. In 1957, he paints his first large murals featuring multi-colored checkerboards, marking an artistic breakthrough and the beginning of a period of great productivity. In 1961 he has his first major single-artist show at the Guggenheim Museum and in 1963 Kornfeld & Klipstein in Bern hosts his first solo international exhibition. Jensen spent the next several years traveling across Europe, Guatemala and the Yucatan. The aerial views he saw from the airplane window inspired the artist, and Jensen incorporated them into his compositions which illustrated his wide ranging studies. In the 1970s, Jensen became increasingly interested in mathematics, physic and astronomy. Influences of Eastern philosophy and the Mayan calendar are apparent in his works from this time, and he continued to paint and study number structures until his death in 1981. In 1985, the Guggenheim Museum in New York hosted a major retrospective of Jensen’s work.