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Monday, March 19, 2007

Itten and Albers

In the late 1800's there was a conjunction of the two outer planets Neptune and Pluto which stretched for years over the cusp of Taurus and Gemini. These two planets working together bring out the Mystical and Abstract side of people. Taurus is ruled by Venus and Gemini by Mercury. Mercury and Venus together is the ultimate combination for marketing which was what the Bauhaus School in Germany was centered around. Designing for the masses and for the industrialized world in a completely new way. I'm finding that many of the Bauhaus masters were born with this conjunction (the architects at any rate).

The two Bauhaus Masters whose charts I'm going to look at today taught the Foundation Design Course and were great Innovators and Teachers of Color Theory. (Kandinsky and probably Klee also taught color but I'm not talking about them here.) I was lucky enough to take an art class once in which the teacher tossed a bunch of colored papers out in front of us, told someone to pick two pieces of different colors and then had us select different colored papers to set behind them. The exercise was to show how much color can change in relation to the colors which surround it. By changing the background colors the initial colors could be made to look almost identical to each other. No kidding! This was a total ah ha moment for me although the rest of the students didn't seem all that impressed. The teacher then brought out the Albers book called Interaction of Colors and showed us that this was just one of the exercises we could experiment with on our own. I'm still trying to read it but think it's much better to be shown these things. Color relationship theories were known for centuries but the Bauhaus brought it down into teachable form.

Johannes Itten and Josef Albers were born in the same year, 1888. Jupiter in Sagg boys born to teach their little hearts out. Itten created the Bauhaus Foundation course. But he was highly spiritual and required the students meditate before each exercise. Walter Gropius had a problem with this and Itten left the school. Gropius wanted to direct the school toward more practical aspects of design, mass production, no woo-woo. (His Pluto was conjunct Saturn and only very widely conjunct Neptune, so, you know, first things first). Albers began teaching sometime after.

Johannes Itten
b. Nov. 11, 1888 Sudern-Linden, Switzerland (good luck finding where this is)

Sun 20 Scorpio; Moon either in Aquarius or Pisces; North Node 24 Cancer

Itten is considered foremost a teacher. His paintings are not as strong as Albers and he didn't really stick with one solid style. According to Wikipedia he expanded his color ideas on those of Adolf Hozel. (I don't have a clue who that is.) He studied as an elementary school teacher and taught through Friedrich Froebel's style. He also studied psychoanalysis and mathematics. He had his first show and started his own school in 1916 and Gropius asked him to come teach at the Bauhaus in 1919 where he taught until the Tiff in March 1923. He was concerned with how colors look side by side. There are 3 main ways to differentiate colors: Dark against Light, Bright against Dull; and Warm against Cool. I guess he was the guy who tagged Reds as warm and Blues as Cold and he meant this in an emotional sense. He said that Medium Gray matches the required equilibrium of our sense of sight. Due to his psychology background he found that color harmony is individual and that each student will find his own subjective color harmonies. There are really interesting pictures in one of his books comparing photos of students faces with individual color exercises they've created. They literally find their own palettes by working on harmonizing colors together.

What initially got me into these charts was wondering if Itten had a lot of Libra in his chart, due to his interest in Color which is ruled by Venus and his incredible abilities to understand the relationships between colors. But, it turns out what I thought would be a Libra chart (unless he's got Libra rising) turned out to be a Scorpio chart. The relationships he was looking at were not social, he was looking for very deep spiritual and psychological connections between the colors and human perception. So, this is really boring writing but has been a great lesson for me.

Itten is said to have used Astrological symbols in his paintings and used them to meditate with so I know his full chart has to be out there somewhere. But I haven't found his birth time so don't have a Rising Sign or Moon. His Sun has only one aspect, a square to Saturn in Leo. That alone makes him kind of fascist. Thank God for the rest of the chart. He dressed like a monk so I'm guessing he had Pisces Rising. That would put Sagittarius on the MC which is very natural placement for a teacher. His Jupiter is in Sagittarius too, opposes his Neptune-Pluto conjunction and is a final dispositor in the chart. Mercury and Pluto are in mutual reception which again reflects deep thought and interest in psychology. Scorpio rules psychology and this was the man who related psychological feelings to color theory.

Itten has no real big geometric shapes in his chart which surprised me because I expect to see geometric shapes in a Bauhaus master's chart. Doi. I then remembered Bob Marks' lesson on Pallas (www.bobmarksastrologer.com). Pallas well placed gives a remarkable ability to see Patterns. In Itten's chart it is conjunct with Pluto (to the degree) and Neptune. Pallas is also extremely out of bounds in his chart at higher than 28 degrees so it's somewhere up there with Goya's Moon and pretty much nobody else's planets which I've looked at so far.

Josef Albers
March 19, 1888 9 am Bottrop, Westphalia, Germany

Sun 30 Pisces; Moon 13 Gemini; ASC 16 Gemini; MC 10 Aquarius; NN 11 Leo

Albers came to the Bauhaus as a student in 1920 and two years later began teaching. He became a Master Teacher in 1925 until the school was shut down by the Nazis in 1933. He then emigrated to the U.S. where he continued to teach.

Albers solidified Itten's ideas and added a disciplined approach to composition. His paintings abstract the relationship of colors and composition. Mostly he painted squares over and over playing with color interactions.

Itten's Sun is at the Aries Point and his North Node is in Leo. This is much more of a heavy duty set-up for self-expression and artistic success than anything in Itten's chart. Moon conjunct ASC in Gemini. Very versatile and in tune with public sentiment. Neptune at 28 Taurus is conjunct Pluto at 4 Gemini in H12. Unlike Itten's chart Albers' chart is full of geometric shapes. He's got two grand trines, one of which extends out into a Kite, a mystic rectangle, a yod, and a t-square with Mercury and Venus at the apex which seems to repeat the theme of Neptune in Taurus-Pluto in Gemini.

So many of Albers' planets are on the last degrees of signs. I've heard some astrologers say this is a very negative thing, the person expresses the sign that the planet is in with exhaustion and impatience for change. I hate these kinds of interpretations but I don't know how else to interpret it. I just always suppose it suggests a soul that lives in a transition time and also is accountable for a lot of strong aspects and geometric shapes in the chart. Since his Sun is on an Aries Point I suppose with these other planets aspecting it make it much stronger. Sun is at 30 Pisces; Venus is at 30 Aquarius; Neptune is at 28 Taurus; Saturn 30 Cancer; Mars at 29 Libra Rx.

So, today is Albers birthday. Happy Solar Return to You Josef! Jupiter Return too, yahoo!!

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